The Apostrophe Protection Society

Theres a Question Mark Hanging Over the Apostrophes Future - Its Practically Against the Law to Use the Mark in a Places Name; Sorry, Pikes Peak


The Domestic Names Committee of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names doesn't like apostrophes. Visitors to Harpers Ferry or Pikes Peak might not realize it, but anyone aspiring to name a ridge or a swamp after a local hero will soon find out.

In this Adirondack town, pop. 1,219, a move is on to put a mountain on the map in honor of James Cameron, who settled here in 1773. There is some dispute as to which mountain, and whether to call it Jimmy's Peak, Jimmie's Peak or James' Peak. But there is no opposition to the apostrophe—except from the government.

"Without it, Jimmys looks plural, not possessive," Evelyn Wood, Thurman's town supervisor, said one morning upstairs in the Town Hall. She is 35 years old and has a college degree in English. The Domestic Names Committee, citing her "Jimmy's Peak" proposal in a letter, added "[sic]" after each "Jimmy's."

Said Ms. Wood, "They're their '[sics]' not ours."

For punctuation sticklers, this official apostrophe aversion is a sad comment on a useful mark in serious trouble. Apostrophes aren't welcome on the Web (McDonald's  is mcdonalds.com). Banks and druggists ignore them (Barclays,  Walgreens). And they sow signage chaos (Employee's Only; Happy Bosses Day; Blue's Band).
Comment: Who knew there is a Apostrophe Protection Society?!

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