Apostrophe Protection Society

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The Apostrophe Protection Society is a UK society that has "the specific aim of preserving the correct use of this currently much abused punctuation mark".[1] It was founded in 2001 by John Richards, a retired sub-editor, in response to his observations of widespread incorrect use of the apostrophe.

The website includes many claimed examples of apostrophe "abuse"; is says it is intended to help correct, rather than chide, offenders. Richards says he has has a standard, polite letter that explains the basic rules for apostrophe use, which he sends to supporters to forward on to offending businesses and other organisations.[2]

It is not clear in what sense the APS is a society, or how many members it has (if any), or from where it claims authority for its views. John Richards has never published a constitution, a list of members, or the criteria (if any) for membership. It is not known in what sense he is the chairman, how he was elected or appointed, or how he might be removed.

It has been suggested (in the now defunct message board of the APS) that the "society" is in fact a one-man organisation designed to give a spurious air of authority to John's own views.

In 2001, Richards won an Ig Nobel Prize for "his efforts to protect, promote, and defend the differences between plural and possessive".[3]

The rules are summarised here.


  1. The Apostrophe Protection Society
  2. Kovacs, Zoltan (16 October 2010), "English speakers split over a squiggle", The West Australian, p. 48<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Winners of the Ig Nobel Prize". Improbable Research. Retrieved 2010-10-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>