Apostrophes

It’s enough to make a king cross

Is it a place where monarchs line up to traverse Euston Road; where kings get angry; or perhaps the spot outside McDonald’s where a giant monument once stood commemorating the life of a very unpopular king.

Going by the cavalier use (or not) of the apostrophe in this area we would never know.

[T]he architects of the revamped frontage seem to have hedged their bets. Gone is the truly awful 1960s additions which boasted King’s Cross in 3ft high letters [featured image], today just the modest signage above various entrances written in the Underground’s trademark Johnston Sans informs us that indeed it is in a spot named after a king’s cross.

The bible of the cabbie, the A-Z gives it the possessive squiggle, while Google Maps, the new kid on the block cannot make up its mind, allowing it and then soon after taking it away.

King’s Cross Central which boasts of the improvements in the area via the web, nails its colours firmly to its mast and even sports a red apostrophe in its title.

Red

While Kings Place, home of the politically correct Guardian newspaper resolutely refuses to accept the area has anything to do with a constitutional monarchy.

Likewise, the republicans over at Network Central favour the absent tadpole and even to accept that they are proper nouns opting for lower case cross and station.

So what are we pedants to do? Just when confusion seems to reign the Londonist have come to our aid and drawn up the definitive list for London. Anyway, I’m off to Apostrophe for a coffee.

4 thoughts on “Apostrophes”

    1. Thank’s Ill be looking out for any more apostrophe’s plonked in the wrong place around London. Thanks you for your comment.

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  1. Many people find the use of apostroiphes confusing, presumably because they are too lazy to spend 5 minutes digesting straightforward advice such as this. As a result, some use the apostrophe inconsistently, as when a greengrocer advertises that he sells “oranges and pear’s” or a newsagent “newspapers and magazine’s”, while others omit it altogether and then worry that their text contains ambiguities such as that between “I’ll” and “ill”.

    If the errors were confined to handwritten signs, we pedants (as you call us) could simply tut and move on but the confusion has spread to other areas. The King’s Cross/Kings Cross muddle is only a symptom of a wider malaise. Whether to include postrophes in names causes arguments which, though heated, are tedious to a degree. I would say choose one version and stick with it.

    The apostrophe was introduced into the English language as an innovation in the 16th century. There is no doubt that, properly used, it is useful and that its lack would lead to ambiguities in written texts. If all we pay for it is the irritation we feel on seeing it used wrongly or inconsistently then that’s probably not too high a price.

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    1. That’s interesting about the history of the apostrophe, and yes you can count me in as being a pedant when it comes to the correct (or incorrect) use of that little squiggle.

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