NICK EICHER, HOST: For the last 18 years, John Richards has been a man on a mission. But at age 96, he’s now counting on new generation to take up the cause.
And that cause is the correct use of the apostrophe.
Richards worked professionally as a copy editor. And through the years he became increasingly frustrated by common misuses of them. So in 2001, he created the Apostrophe Protection Society.
Speaking with ITV News, he recalled the moment that inspired him to get involved. He encountered a sign in a cafe window that read “coffee’s”—c-o-f-f-e-e-apostrophe-s.
RICHARDS: I thought, you know, this is not possessive. So I went into the cafe and spoke to the owner, pointed out the mistake very politely. And his only reply was “well I think it looks better with the apostrophe in it.” So what can you say?
Richards told The Guardian that in recent years he feared “ignorance and laziness” had won the day.
But it seems plenty of conscientious grammarians still remain. When he announced he was shutting down the Apostrophe Protection Society, it generated so much interest, he had to shut the site down because of too much traffic.
I just went there and it says: John Richards has announced the he is closing the Apostophe Protection Society.
No kidding. “The” instead of “that.” “Apostophe” instead of “Apostrophe.”
See, the copy editor-apostophe-s work is never done.
It’s The World and Everything in It.