LONDON – To grammarians’ delight, local officials in southwest England who had considered expunging apostrophes from street signs threw out the idea Thursday and vowed to follow the rules of proper English.
The proposed ban on the mild-mannered apostrophe drew criticism from throughout Britain and media attention from as far away as Australia. Proponents of good grammar lambasted the Mid Devon District Council for even thinking of killing off such a useful punctuation mark and for lowering the standards of civic discourse.
Apparently deeming the proposal a fool’s game, the council’s Cabinet ordered staff to come up with a revised plan for road signage that would save the apostrophe from the chop.
“We made absolutely clear we wouldn’t accept any policy that does away with apostrophes or indeed any other punctuation marks,” Peter Hare-Scott, the council’s leader, said in a telephone interview. “As a public body, we have a duty to promote good English.”