Ignorance and laziness have won: apostolic society closes

LONDON: Britain is closing, its founder announced, saying that unfortunately he had lost the fight against ignorance and laziness. Former journalist John Richards, 96, started the partnership in 2001, with the goal of preserving the correct use of what he said was the badly abused punctuation mark.

Richards spent the last quarter of his career as an editor, preparing the journalists' copy for the newspaper, a task that often involved correcting his use of apostrophes. When he retired, he continued to detect the same flagrant mistakes in everyday life and decided to take action, seeing the apostrophe as an endangered species that needed protection. The former journalist said he expected to find half a dozen people who felt the same as him. In a month, I received more than 500 letters of support, not only from all corners of the United Kingdom, but also from the United States, France , Sweden , Hong Kong and Canada ,” he said. But Richards said that with regret, he was now closing down operations of the society for two reasons. “One is that at 96, I am cutting back on my commitments and the second is that fewer organisations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English language,” Richards wrote on the society’s website.

“We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!” The www.apostrophe.org.uk website will remain open for reference. It gives a simple guide to readers, with examples of how apostrophes are used to denote missing letters and possession but never plurals.