Do we really need them?

It has been announced that Cambridge no longer intends to use apostrophes on road signs. Is this a good idea or not? George Bernard Shaw suggested doing away with apostrophes altogether and I am inclined to agree. I think there are more mistakes using them than there are omitting them.

When I was teaching only about the top six pupils in the class got the hang of them, especially when it came to using them for possession and those for omission often weren’t put in the place where the letter had been missed out. In fact I used to tell pupils who put them in every word ending with an S to stop using them. That way they made far fewer mistakes.

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