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Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe

September 5, 2009

Tags: punctuation, grammar and style, Keith Waterhouse

In his classic column about abuse of the apostrophe, Keith Waterhouse wrote, "The AAAA has two simple goals. Its first is to round up and confiscate superfluous apostrophes from, for example, fruit and vegetable stalls where potato's, tomatoe's and apple's are openly on sale. Its second is to redistribute as many as possible of these impounded apostrophes, restoring missing apostrophes where they have been lost, mislaid or deliberately hijacked - as for instance by British Rail, which as part of its refurbishment programme is dismantling the apostrophes from such stations as King's Cross and shunting them off at dead of night to a secret apostrophe siding at Crewe."

And later in that classic column:
"But what can we, as individuals, do to stop the rot, bearing in mind that your Association will have no truck with the proscribed militant Apostrophe Abolition Army, whose declared aim is to stamp out the now universal use of 'it's' for the possessive 'its' by blowing up offending printing plants?"

Read Richard Littlejohn's tribute to Keith Waterhouse , the legend of Fleet Street, then scroll down and read Keith Waterhouse's original column.