Councils to abolish apostrophes on new street signs - because they are 'potentially confusing'

Councils to abolish apostrophes on new street signs - because they are 'potentially confusing'

Language experts have described as ‘deplorable’ plans to abolish apostrophes on new street signs - because they are ‘potentially confusing’.

The emerging practice has been adopted in Cambridge - one of Britain's most famous seats of learning - where the punctuation for road signs like ‘Paul's Court’ will disappear.

Cambridge City Council said they were only following national guidelines, which claim that apostrophes could lead to mistakes - particularly for emergency services.

But the Cambridge-based Good Grammar Company said the move was 'deplorable' and 'pandering to the lowest denominator.'

Director Kathy Salaman said: 'I know some people think apostrophes are superfluous, but we really need them and I think it’s the first step on a slippery slope.

'If councils are getting rid of them, what kind of message does that give out to students at schools?

'Dropping apostrophes is pandering to the lowest denominator, and while eradicating them anywhere is dreadful, it is particularly bad to do it in Cambridge.'

But Nick Milne, the city council officer responsible for street naming, said a consultation on the issue had seen only one objection.

He said the policy brought the council into line with the National Land and Property Gazetteer where all new street names are registered.

He said: 'We follow guidance from the NLPG and it was decided potential confusion over incorrectly punctuated street names meant we would wouldn’t use punctuation any more.

















'Our understanding was that many data users including the emergency services make no reference at all as to whether an apostrophe is used or not.'

The naming policy also bans street names which would be 'difficult to pronounce or awkward to spell' and any 'could give offence' or would 'encourage defacing of nameplates'.

Existing street names are not affected by the policy.