Street names shouldn't have apostrophes say North Devon and Torridge councils
NORTH Devon Council and Torridge District Council are among a group of councils which refuse to use apostrophes in street names.
News broke on Friday that Mid Devon Council has decided to do away with apostrophes in its street signs, in order to prevent confusion.
The decision was taken at a meeting on Tuesday, when Mid Devon's managing the environment policy development group approved a recommendation from its officers.
And following that meeting it has emerged the North Devon and Torridge have similar ideas.
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While Torridge has an official policy against the use of apostrophes North Devon's assistant chief executive Anne Cowley said although it was not a council policy it is historic practice not to use apostrophes in street names.
"When the council names a new street the details are entered onto the Local Street Gazetteer," she said.
"This feeds into the National Street Gazetteer and there are no street names on the Local Street Gazetteer for North Devon containing an apostrophe followed by a letter S."
Under the Public Health Act 1925, local authorities are responsible for naming new roads.
And Mid Devon's new policy is designed to prevent streets being given "inappropriate and confusing" street names, which could have "adverse consequences in times of emergency".
The policy means new streets and roads cannot have a name which ends in the letter S, where the S can be possessive or plural. Names beginning with "The" are also banned.
But the decision has provoked anger, outrage and mockery from the public and campaigners for the English language.
Steve Jenner from the Plain English Campaign said punctuation, including the apostrophe, was one of the basic rules of language and he described the council's decision as "nonsensical".
And Wendy Jones, from Horwood, said she also thinks it seems a ridiculous decision.
"It sounds like the council are making a fuss over nothing," she said.
How confusing can an apostrophe be? It's not confusing to anyone with a brain.
"I say keep the apostrophe."
However, not all those who have spoken out against the decision seem entirely sure of the English language themselves.
Misusing the word literally proof-reader Mary de Vere, Taylor from Ashburton, said: "It's almost as though somebody with a giant eraser is literally trying to erase punctuation from our consciousness."
Have you seen a sign or another example where an apostrophe has been misused? Send your examples to email@example.com