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  • Bob McCalden

September Newsletter

Dear APS members,

Once again, I'm delighted to welcome all our new members this month to the Apostrophe Protection Society, and to warmly thank existing members for being there and helping to support the APS. It means a lot to me, so thank you.

In last month's newsletter, barely four weeks ago, I was able to tell you about the exciting news that I'd had an article published in The Times (UK) for International Apostrophe Day (August 15), and that I'd just finished an interview about the APS with a US newspaper. Since then there has been a tidal wave of media interest, and I'm frankly a bit blown away by it all (slightly mixed metaphors there). There have been two further articles in The Times (UK), one in the Washington Post (US), one in the Sunday Telegraph (UK), a feature in Saga magazine, and radio interviews on BBC Radio 2 (UK) and RTE Radio 1 (Ireland). As a result of all this media interest, I am amazed to be able to tell you that membership now stands at over 1800, and it's continuing to rise. Welcome to all our new members!

Much of the focus of all the media interest has been on two principal topics. First, International Apostrophe Day (August 15), originally "created" by a UK journalist at the Guardian newspaper in 2012. It is now, as a result of the media interest, much more widely recognised than it was before. Second, one of the newspapers (The Times) had picked up on the Waterstones re-branding back in 2012 when Waterstones book stores dropped the apostrophe from their name. John Richards (founder of the APS and chairman at the time) had vehemently disagreed with the apostrophe dropping, and had made a big fuss about it. The Times picked up on the statement I had made saying that I felt brand names could be whatever the brand owner wanted them to be, particularly when any original sense of ownership (in this case by Tim Waterstone) had ceased, and that I was happy for Waterstones to no longer have an apostrophe. This "forgiveness" was then picked up and further reported by those other media outlets, and made into a somewhat bigger story than it really deserved!

I've posted the various newspaper articles on the APS on the "Blog" page on the website, so you can review them there if you wish. Once I've worked out the best way of clipping the audio extracts from the two radio interviews, I'll post those as well.

All of this media attention and, of course, the greatly increased number of members, has given me more confidence and credibility to approach some more of the offending apostrophe misusers, so I'll be doing more of that over the coming months. If you think there's a particularly strong case of apostrophe misuse out there that needs to be corrected, please let me know. I'll cover any resulting "wins" in future newsletters.

While I'm delighted with the number of new members (welcome, again), I'd love to have more. If each of you can think of someone who would appreciate our focus on apostrophes, please invite them to join. I'd love to see another big increase over the next month, and I need your help on that one.

I've had quite a lot of apostrophe misuse examples sent to me by members over the last week or two, and I'm slowly working through them. Thank you for those - I'll do my best to acknowledge each of them. If you come across any other particularly bad abuses of apostrophes, do please let me have them - the "Examples" page tells you where to send them.

I'm planning to add a few more minor sections to the "Apostrophe Use" page, so keep an eye open for those when I finally have time to publish them.

I'll leave it there for now. I can see I've had another influx of over 100 new members since I started writing this newsletter, so I need to pick those up as well. Thank you again for becoming members, and for giving me your support in protecting our endangered apostrophe.

Best wishes,




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