A society dedicated to preserving the correct use of the apostrophe has shut down because “ignorance has won”.
Retired journalist John Richards, 96, started the Apostrophe Protection Society in 2001 to make sure the “much-abused” punctuation mark was being used correctly.
Mr Richards, also a former Englisgh teacher at an all boys school in Ross-on-why has now announced: “With regret I have to announce that, after some 18 years, I have decided to close the Apostrophe Protection Society.
“There are two reasons for this. One is that at 96 I am cutting back on my commitments and the second is that fewer organisations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English Language.”
He added: “We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won.”
Mr Richards started the society after seeing the “same mistakes over and over again” and hoped he would find half a dozen people who felt the same way.
(No commitment yer see)
“I didn’t find half a dozen people,” he said on his website.
“Instead, within a month of my plaint appearing in a national newspaper, I received over 500 letters of support, not only from all corners of the United Kingdom, but also from America, Australia, France, Sweden, Hong Kong and Canada.”
His website lists three simple rules for the correct use of the apostrophe.
The rules Mr Richards gave for apostrophes are: They are used to denote a missing letter or letters, they are used to denote possession and apostrophes are never ever used to denote plurals.