Ellie Ames 07 May 2024

North Yorkshire to drop apostrophes from street signs

North Yorkshire to drop apostrophes from street signs image
The street sign for 'St Mary's Walk', Harrogate, in 2022. Image: Google Maps

Apostrophes will be omitted from street signs produced by North Yorkshire Council to the dismay of residents and grammarians alike.

The unitary authority said it was ditching the punctuation mark because it caused problems during database searches.

It said all new street signs would be produced without apostrophes, regardless of whether they were used in the past.

The chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, Bob McCalden, called the decision ‘cultural vandalism’ and said not using apostrophes was akin to spelling street names incorrectly.

Mr McCalden told LocalGov that the council’s reasoning about database issues was ‘ludicrous’ and argued that the authority should fix computer systems rather than scrap apostrophes.

He intends to write to North Yorkshire Council’s chief executive.

In Harrogate, disgruntled residents have spoken to the BBC after the apostrophe was omitted from a new ‘St Marys Walk’ sign – although someone has since corrected the sign’s grammar in pen.

Sam, a postie and former teacher, said: ‘I walk past the sign every day and it riles my blood to see inappropriate grammar or punctuation.’

Resident Anne Keywood told the BBC: ‘I think we should be using apostrophes. If you start losing things like that then everything goes downhill doesn't it?’

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