Lincolnshire

Apostrophe campaign ends due to 'ignorance and laziness'

Pictures of apostrophe misuse Image copyright Other
Image caption John Richards said he was constantly amazed by how many people did not know how to use the apostrophe correctly

A retired journalist who founded a campaign to preserve the correct use of the apostrophe is bowing out because "ignorance has won".

The Apostrophe Protection Society was started by John Richards in 2001 to tackle misuse of the punctuation mark.

His work involved advising people on proper use and writing to organisations to highlight their apostrophe abuse.

The 96-year-old said: "We have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won."

His website contains a list of rules on where to place apostrophes, as well as a photo gallery detailing dozens of examples of misuse.

The former newspaper reporter and sub editor from Boston, Lincolnshire, said although he was closing it down, it would remain open for a limited time for "reference and interest".

"When I first set it up I would get about 40 emails or letters a week from people all over the world. Many were saying how it was about time that we had something like this," he said.

"But then two years ago it started to tail off and nowadays I hardly get anything."

"It seems that fewer organisations and individuals care about the correct use," he added.

"Those who do will get it right but those who can't be bothered will just carry on sprinkling it about where they feel it looks nice."

Mr Richards said his age had also had a bearing on his decision to close the site, although he said he would not rule out starting a campaign to save the comma from a similar fate.

"The use of the comma is appalling. When I read some newspaper websites they just don't understand what it is used for."

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