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A sign for Mr Gatward's own church managed to leave out the apostrophe so that the main heading read 'St Lukes', while in smaller lettering below the church's name was spelt with the apostrophe. This served to confirm a pet theory of Mr Gatward's - that the Catholic Church is rather more rigorous in these matters than the liberal Church of England, given its adherence to scriptural doctrine rather than individual interpretation.

Moving on, Mr Gatward stumbled on a gem of a mistake. One street sign read 'All Saint's Road', with the apostrophe incorrectly denoting one saint where it should by definition be the plural possessive All Saints' Road. Barely metres along the road we found another incorrect sign, this time reading 'All Saints Rise leading to All Saints Road', with no apostrophes at all. But Mr Gatward is far from being the archetypal 'disgusted of Tunbridge Wells'. For all his appearance and demeanour — Royal British Legion tie and badge, blazer, smartly polished shoes — he only moved to the town 18 months ago.

Born in Rotherhithe, south London, his father was a clerk and his mother a shop assistant. Bright enough to gain a scholarship, the young Stefan learnt his proper grammar at Alleyn's School in Dulwich. From there he joined the Gordon Highlanders, in , before leaving four years later to work as a ship broker and then qualify as an accountant. But the apostrophe is there to show possession or a missing letter. While language and words may change with time grammar should be sacrosanct," said Mr Gatward.

Introduction to the apostrophe

More relaxed she may be, but Miss Cunningham admitted she insists people place a circumflex over the "a" when writing her first name. Mr Gatward could not hide his delight. Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Sunday 16 December Apostrophe warrior Stefan Gatward's mission to correct our wayward grammar Accountant Stefan Gatward, who shot to fame for correcting the grammar of a street sign in Royal Tunbridge Wells, has launched a campaign to correct errors in signs across the town.

He has been called a vandal, a graffiti artist and a pedant. In his spare time he officiates at services at Southwark Cathedral as a day chaplain.

In How about that? More from The Telegraph. If so, use an apostrophe plus the letter s:.

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This is the same for names that end in s as well as other nouns that end in s , such as penis and Charles. What if you do have a plural and possessive noun?

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Most of the time, plural words end in s , so most of the time, you will add just an apostrophe:. It is indeed, the one exception to that rule. And there it is, perhaps not as graphically rich as they did it at The Oatmeal , but at least a little more correct. This is great—very clear and streamlined with the added help of engaging examples. Karen, thanks so much for your comment.

The Sexy Grammarian has moved:

I think it also helps to think about how you pronounce these possessive words. But I must disagree with your use of apostrophe to pluralize either of them or any stand-alone letter. What is more readable about making it look like there is something belonging to the P and the Q? Style manuals are split on this question. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends using an apostrophe for plurals of lowercase single letters only, and certainly, lowercase pluralized as are more ambiguous than uppercase pluralized As in text.

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The most important grammar rule is that the purpose of grammar rules is to clarify, not to proscribe. Choose styles which are likely to make your communication clear. The letter s is problematic, I agree. But I think I would go with italics for clarification before I used an unnecessary apostrophe.

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Finally, I wholly agree that the only really important grammar rule is to use grammar to make yourself clear. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. The Sexy Grammarian has moved: So, first, is it plural? If so, use an apostrophe plus the letter s: Most of the time, plural words end in s , so most of the time, you will add just an apostrophe: Karen Ouse January 26th, Again, great, really fun article!

Tom Holub January 26th, Tom, I am indeed interested. Thanks for the link. Mira, so glad to have you reading. Thanks for the kind words.