London, Dec 3 (PTI) A former journalist who set up the UK's Apostrophe Protection Society to promote the correct use of the apostrophe has announced its closure in the face of laziness that is leading to the demise of the important punctuation mark.
John Richards started the Apostrophe Protection Society in 2001 after he retired and now at the age of 96 announced its closure this week.
'Fewer organisations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English language,' said Richards.
'We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won,' he said.
The Apostrophe Protection Society's website was deluged with traffic in the wake of this announcement, forcing a shutdown of the website itself with plans for a revival in 2020.
'John Richards has announced the he is disbanding the Apostophe (sic) Protection Society,' reads a note of the website, which ironically spells apostrophe incorrectly.
'Since the announcement, this site has had a 600-fold increase in traffic, which is proving expensive. So, we have decided to close the site until the new year,' it adds.
When he started his campaign 18 years ago after noticing repeat errors, Richards found the biggest problem was not people misusing the apostrophe but not using it at all.
'The biggest issue I have is not that people get it wrong and put the apostrophe in the wrong place – they just don't use it altogether. In many ways it's been completely abandoned and people and business just don't use it at all, they leave it out,' he lamented.
The society promoted three simple rules for the correct use of the apostrophe – they are used to denote a missing letter or letters, they are used to denote possession and apostrophes are never used to denote plurals. PTI AK IND