In England, Cambridge City Council has decided to drop the apostrophe on all new signs in the city. This is their statement:
“It was decided that in order to avoid potential confusion over incorrectly punctuated street names that the use of the apostrophe would no longer be used on new street name plates in Cambridge.”
Really! The city of Cambridge, home to Cambridge University, one of the world’s leading seats of higher education; surely those who live in Cambridge can’t be flummoxed by a mere apostrophe. Anybody with a little sense knows that without the apostrophe, meaning is changed, and it’s there precisely to clear up the confusion they speak of.
In my book a statement like this is once again one of those mindless lazy shortcuts we seem see in everything now days, disposing of all that is valued, tried and tested. I wonder how long it will take before the announcement is made that, “In order to clear up confusion the word ‘asked’ is now to become ‘axed.’ Instead of “He asked me” it will now be pronounced as, “He axed me.” And lately we’ve been hearing this crazy little phrase all over the place.
Talk about confusion.