Letter: Small, curly and completely redundant

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The Independent Online
Whats the point of the apostrophe? ("You say St James', I say St James's ...", 1 September). Im convinced its an anachronism. If it hadnt been invented, no one would now be demanding its introduction.

If a sign has no effect on pronunciation, why write it? In spoken English the distinction between, say, its and it's is always clear from the context, so the same must surely apply in writing. Any possible confusion between possessives, plurals and possessive plurals can be avoided by using the construction the (noun) of the (noun), as in French. The hospital cited in your article would simply become St Thomases.

I know the apostrophe is supposed to denote missing letters, but there is no consistency: am I really to believe that shan't is short for sha not? Or that it should be written sha'n't?

So lets simply do away with this relic. Once the apostrophe purists have died prematurely of apoplexy, no one will miss it.

Paul Dawson

Ipswich, Suffolk

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