Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXIX No. 18, January 1-15, 2020

The tadpole’s lament

Ranjitha Ashok

Chief, thought it would be nice to check in with you every now and then, give you an update maybe, on all the goings-on here.

Have you heard the latest?

We’re in a fine mess – linguistically speaking.

The Apostrophe, the little tadpole of the grammar world, is increasingly feeling very left out…very out of place.

This tiny porriwiggle that hovers over words so bravely, directing comprehension with such precision, is now fighting a losing battle, and is broken in spirit.

Worse, a dedicated group like the Apostrophe Protection Society, deeply committed to the right way of…er…writing, has now quietly folded its tents and faded away, defeated, their founder John Richards says, by all the ‘laziness’ and ‘ignorance’ around them.

Sounds harsh?

Perhaps. But in this era of shortening attention spans, social media and the fastest-finger-first form of sending msgs…sorry, messages (this stuff is a bit infectious), the criticism is probably justified.

Apostrophes, bereft of their champions, are feeling threatened, pointing sadly to signboards and road names.
“Who is going to tell people where to place us, especially in names that end with a ‘s’ or two?”, they demand.
Is this anyway to treat a member of the punctuation family that has been around since 1496, they ask.
“You people have conquered Space, but still cannot figure out the difference between ‘it’s’ and ‘its’,”, snaps an Apostrophe, hurrying past.

“Its…I mean, it’s a bit confusing,” you mumble, but the little figure has gone, looking for a kinder, more civilised land, you assume.

Chief, I hate to bring you worse news, knowing how much punctuation mattered to you, but it looks like the Apostrophe’s cousin, Comma, is feeling distinctly left out as well.

“Check newspaper reports especially.” the Comma sighs, “We just don’t figure any more. The words seem to gallop along at random. At this rate, they’ll get rid of spacing too.”

There’s definitely some declining and falling going on, Chief, and civilisation is tottering a bit.

The SPCC – Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Colons – is threatening to go the same way as the APS, and rumour has it that the Hyper Hyphen-aters are tired of being interchanged with the Damned-if-we’re-Dash-ed group.
You know what, Chief? Being particular about things like punctuation? Can’t help thinking it’s one more of life’s ‘niceties’, of making that little bit more of an effort, that are considered a mere waste of time these days.

Oh well…
Will sign off now, Chief.
Until next time,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *