Minder of Misplaced Apostrophes Scolds a Town

Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Sat Jun 16 13:50:18 UTC 2001


BOSTON, England — They jump out everywhere at John Richards, silent testaments to
the declining standards of our time.

Just four blocks from his house, for instance, is the Print Xpress copy shop, with
its sign offering to print "menu's."

That's just the beginning, Mr. Richards said recently, his Brezhnevian eyebrows
beetling indignantly as he conducted an annotated tour of the neighborhood, on the
outskirts of this busy Lincolnshire town. There was Sweeney Todd, "the modern mans barber
shop." There was a store featuring "ladies fashions" and a pub whose weekly current
events board was titled, shockingly, "whats on."

"It's irritated me for years and years," Mr. Richards, 75, a retired copy editor and
reporter for various local newspapers, said of public apostrophe misuse — the
rampant absence of apostrophes that are needed, the presence of those that are not.

A few weeks ago he decided to put his irritation to work. Under the auspices of his
newly formed Apostrophe Protection Society (number of charter members: two, Mr.
Richards and his son, Stephen), he drew up a form letter and began delivering it to
offending businesses in the area.

Grant Barrett
New York loves you back.

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