Apostrophes

I like Stephen Fry.  I mean, he can get a bit pompous on occasion – such as when anyone mentions God, or other belief or worldview he doesn’t deem ‘rational’ – but he’s a long way from Richard Dawkins et al, and generally speaking he gives the impression of being a thoroughly likeable sort of chap.

And educated.  Clearly very well educated.

Which is why I was surprised to see him being disparaging on QI about people who believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to use apostrophes.

I know some people go over the top about it, and I’m not advocating that – but he cited a writer who had observed that there had never been a ‘golden age’ when everyone understood and used apostrophes properly.  And he seemed to be implying that that meant it didn’t matter.  Seems odd, because surely, with literacy levels as high as they are now, with a bit of effort this could have been that golden age.

Okay, maybe I’m being a bit unreasonable – but isn’t it odd to see a proud rationalist employ that sort of argument?  Because nobody’s done it before, that means there’s no merit in doing it now?

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