The ‘Uncouth Bacilli’

130520_GW_apostrophe_B.jpg.CROP.original-originalIn this digital age, it is surprising to observe that more and more people have discovered–or rediscovered–their [self-proclaimed] talent for writing. It seems to me that a lot have been typing their every thought–with nary a thought, nor effort, about proper wordsmithing–more than ever before. Forgive the wordplay.

Hmmmmm……. Is this emerging ‘mass articulacy’ something to celebrate or deplore?

In her 2006 best-seller Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss writes:

“Getting your itses mixed up is the greatest solecism in the world of punctuation. No matter that you have a Ph.D. and have read all of Henry James twice, if you still persist in writing, ‘Good food at it’s best’, you deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave.”

Like Ms. Truss, these itses are my own personal peeve. A new school of thought, however, has sprung worldwide calling for the eradication of the apostrophe to denote possession or an omission of a letter.

But the anti-apostrophe brigade has an impressive intellectual pedigree. Take George Bernard Shaw. The author and playwright at some point decided to use apostrophes in contractions only when failing to do so would create a different, familiar word, or homograph—I’ll and Ill, for instance. In 1902, he wrote of apostrophes, “There is not the faintest reason for persisting in the ugly and silly trick of peppering pages with these uncouth bacilli.”

Read more here.

 What’s your take on this?



About Seeing with Brahmin eyes
My sense of humor can be keen, sarcastic, silly or corny -- sometimes all at once. I enjoy meeting new people with no preconceived ideas about what or what is not possible. You get much more out of life by being open minded and willing. I'm an easy going, good-natured person who loves life and loves people. I'm both optimistic and realistic and pretty objective when it comes to assessing situations, events, etc. In general I am a very positive person and you'll usually find we with a smile on my face.

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