[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 16 June 2004]
One of the scars left upon my soul by doing too much reading and writing at an early age is a proof-reader mode always stuck at eleven, which is constantly triggered by the epidemic of brutal and callous apostrophe abuse going on in the world today, even among people who should know better. Take for instance this .sig file from an email that just landed in my inbox a few seconds ago:
This e-mail, and it’s attachment(s), if any, have been scanned by NortonAnti-Virus 2003 Professional
Aaaargh! “it’s attachments?”
Another insidious and equally disturbing mutilation that’s cropped up on more PowerPoint slides than useless bar graphs is the use of apostrophes to signify plurals. So we get “We will scan the URL’s contents,” “We will buy many CD’s,” etc.
Looking around the web for other victims of apostrophe abuse, found a post on Dive Into Mark where he laments this abuse, and finds that the apostrophe is the modern day Shibboleth.
Interestingly, the word Shibboleth comes from one of those ultra-violent ethnic-cleansing passages that so liven up the Bible.