On the streets of Birmingham, the queen's English is now the queens English.
England's second-largest city has decided to drop apostrophes from street signs, saying they're confusing and old-fashioned.
Birmingham officials have been taking a hammer to grammar for years, quietly dropping apostrophes from street signs since the 1950s. Through the decades, residents have launched spirited campaigns to restore the missing punctuation to signs denoting such places as “St. Pauls Square” or “Acocks Green.” This week, the council officially banned the punctuation mark from signs in a bid to end the dispute.
“Apostrophes denote possessions that are no longer accurate, and are not needed,” he said. “More importantly, they confuse people. If I want to go to a restaurant, I don't want to have an A-level (high school diploma) in English to find it.”
But grammarians say apostrophes enrich the English language.
“They are such sweet-looking things that play a crucial role in the English language,” said Marie Clair of the Plain English Society.