The Death of the Apostrophe, and the sickness of the hyphen

Subject: The Death of the Apostrophe, and the sickness of the hyphen
From: John Wilcox <john -at- SYNTAX -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 19:32:55 -0800

> Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 21:56:00 -0500
> From: Delaney, Misti <ncr02!ncr02!mdelaney -at- UCS01 -dot- ATTMAIL -dot- COM>

> Has anyone out there read Charles Larson's November 6 essay in Newsweek
> about the decline of the apostrophe?

> In the essay (ITS ACADEMIC, OR IS IT?) Larson posits that people under the
> age of 35 generally have no idea how the apostrophe ought to be used. Ever
> since a colleague pointed the article out to me, I've become hyper-aware of
> how often the apostrophe is misused today.

> Is the apostrophe on the way out of the English language? Should we be
> fighting on the front to keep the apostrophe alive or mourning its passing?

I haven't noticed any increase in the misuse of the apostrophe. It just
seems to be about as misunderstood as when I was in elementary school (a
long time ago in a galaxy far, far away). Its' sad. ;-)

Now the hyphen -- there's a much abused and misused bit of punctuation.
It really seems to be a terminal case, even among tech writers. I
regularly see compound modifiers left unhyphenated, while other word
pairs gain needlessly gain a hyphen. Have you noticed?

John Wilcox <john -at- syntax -dot- com>
Senior Technical Writer
Syntax, Inc., 840 S. 333rd St., Federal Way, WA 98003-6343 USA
voice 206-838-2626, fax 206-838-9836,

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