There’s a war waging in the grammar world, and some are pointing the finger directly at text messages (or, rather, those that text a lot).
There are two sides to this war: those that believe apostrophes are necessary in the English world, and those that do not. The level of grammar that we’ve come to accept as standard today is far below the level that would pass many years ago – or is it?
A closer look at the world of apostrophes shows that writers have long been able to get by without the small marks, and that text messaging might not have anything to do with it. Before you pick a side, read this.
In Shakespeare’s Day
Those for the destruction of the apostrophe argue that the small mark wasn’t always popular. They go on to note that back in Shakespeare’s day, apostrophe’s weren’t even around that much at all, and that one word was spelled quite differently in a number of texts, but everyone understood what that word meant.
You could write “he’ll” or “hell,” and depending on the sentence people reading what you wrote will understand what you mean. This is largely true today too. Just think about all the social media posts you read that include really bad grammar. You still understand what those people are saying, right? Well, that’s the point the anti-apostrophe people are making, only it’s all about those little punctuation marks.
On the other hand, apostrophes are kind of necessary if you think about it (well this writer thinks so anyway). It’s bad enough that people have resorted to sending whole emails in the same manner that they send a text message: “k, thx ttyl ilysm” is a good example of the way that the world currently writes. Interestingly, some companies are taking the initiative to keep apostrophes included in text messages by making sure that autocorrect systems include the small marks.
A Strong Stance
There is some news that Apple will be making sure autocorrect keeps apostrophes in upcoming iOS updates. If you try to write “hell” instead of “he’ll,” your iPhone may tell you differently. Whether or not Apple (and other companies) are making a stance is unclear, but it certainly seems that way. Maybe society is regressing with the discussion about removing apostrophes, or maybe it’s evolving. It’s hard to say, but jumping on the “get rid of apostrophes” bandwagon just because you aren’t sure where to put the marks isn’t a good choice.
Choose a side because you believe one or the other to be correct, but not because one seems to be the cool thing to do. Either way, you will start to see some tech companies keeping or getting rid of the apostrophe in the next few years, that much is certain – will your autocorrect uphold the tradition of the apostrophe or abolish it? And, further, what do you think about this argument? Are text messages to blame here, or is the apostrophe simply something that was created to add ornaments to words?