Feeds

Birmingham drops the possessive apostrophe

'Pedants’ revolt' brewing, Times suggests

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Defenders of correct punctuation should look away now, because Birmingham City Council has voted to drop possessive apostrophes from its street signs, in the process risking a "pedants' revolt' as Middle England rises to combat this latest menace to our beloved mother tongue.

According to the Times, the decision came following "tense grammatical debate". Martin Mullaney, chairman of the council’s transportation scrutiny committee, argued that "for some time the apostrophe had been slipping from signs all over the city".

He further insisted that "since the monarchy no longer owned Kings Heath, or Kings Norton, and since the Acock family no longer owned Acocks Green, the punctuation marks that once appeared in those names were now redundant".

He said on his blog: “The consensus of the city council on the future use of possessive apostrophes in place names is that they should not be reintroduced. This view will, I know, upset a lot of residents.”

Indeed, since the council first proposed joining forces with the UK's greengrocers, there has been considerable local opposition to the move. Regarding King's Kings Heath, one local defended the apostrophe on a community website, explaining: “It’s important because it conveys the meaning of the Heath more accurately as belonging to the King - whether this be real or symbolic - in singular possessive terms.”

The Apostrophe Protection Society doesn't much like the idea either. Its founder and chairman, John Richards, decried: “It’s setting a very bad example because teachers all over Birmingham are teaching their children punctuation. Then they see road signs with apostrophes removed.”

However, there is a (sort of) plausible reason for the move. As the Times notes, Oz in 2001 expunged apostrophes from place names "for the sake of consistency in the databases used by the emergency services". Mullaney rested his case with: “It would be tragic if the ambulance couldn’t find your street if you forgot to use the possessive apostrophe.” ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Are you a fat boy? Get to university NOW, you PENNILESS SLACKER
Rotund types paid nearly 20% less than people who didn't eat all the pies
Emma Watson should SHUT UP, all this abuse is HER OWN FAULT
... said an anon coward who we really wish hadn't posted on our website
Japan develops robot CHEERLEADERS which RIDE on BALLS
'Will put smiles on faces worldwide', predicts corporate PR chief
Bruges Booze tubes to pump LOVELY BEER underneath city
Belgian booze pumped from underground
Oz carrier Tiger Air takes terror alerts to new heights
Don't doodle, it might cost you your flight
Amazon: Wish in one hand, Twit in the other – see which one fills first
#AmazonWishList A year's supply of Arran scotch, ta
Let it go, Steve: Ballmer bans iPads from his LA Clippers b-ball team
Can you imagine the scene? 'Hey guys, it's your new owner – WTF is that on your desk?'
Oi, London thief. We KNOW what you're doing - our PRECRIME system warned us
Aye, shipmate, it be just like that Minority Report
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.