Season XV1 – Alphaday 6

Hi Alphas,

Welcome to Alphaday 6, Season XVI. Our Alpha-rhythm is moving steadily with its powerful beat, sweeping us all along in the flow. Do we need a little break just now when we’re fully immersed in what’s going on and waiting impatiently for what follows? Well, we’ll have one anyway. There’s a time for this and a time for that and right now it’s time to join in whatever festivities will brighten up the coming weeks. Solstice, Christmas, The New Year – a time for celebration and for turning over a new leaf.

A four-week break will give us the opportunity to switch off and re-charge our energies to give 2020 and part two of the Alpha Season a fresh and enthusiastic start.

We still have a packed agenda for Alphaday 6, you’ll be pleased to know, prepared for us with writerly care by everyone and set out here:

Alphaday 6, Season XVI agenda:

  • This bulletin from me
  • The results of the dialogue challenge from Suzanne
  • The collated entries for the diary challenge from Martin
  • The brief for Challenge 5 from Maria
  • The Alpha Log presented by Phil

As you can see there’s plenty to look forward to in the course of the day and it’ll no doubt keep you occupied for a while until our next Alphaday.

General news:

Firstly, I won’t mention the UK election. Secondly, I do hope some action will be taken to reduce the ravages of fire, water, gales and earthquakes that threaten to destroy our planet.

However, an altogether different matter caught my myopic, pedantic attention: the demise of the APS! I expect that you, too, regret that ‘The Apostrophe Protection Society’, founded in 2001 by John Richards, has ceased to exist. John Richards has accepted defeat: “We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!” A sad outcome, indeed. He had one victory before he gave up: he persuaded his local library to remove the apostrophe in the notice that read: CD’s. He lost the battle against councils where they stubbornly removed the apostrophe in street names such as ‘Queens Street’ etc. Even ‘Earls Court’ refused to use it. He had a heyday with shops and greengrocers re. tomatoe’s and the like, though. And a valiant battle it was.

Alas! The much-lamented “ignorance and laziness” won the day. It’s now up to the rest of us to keep up standards. I’ve heard there’s an apostrophe vigilante who’s bravely roaming through the streets of Bristol at night with a long pole equipped with an apostrophe-correcting tool. An admirable effort!

Let’s unite in a firm and dedicated effort to use the immensely versatile apostrophe correctly and allow it to shine. Unlike other punctuation marks the apostrophe can change the meaning of a phrase completely. Compare “You’re dead, mate” with “Your dead mate” and the difference is obvious (helped along a tiny bit by the comma). Then there are things like “How many Qs in a game of Scrabble?” No apostrophe because plurals don’t have them.

My personal fad is about reducing auxiliary verbs when the spoken version justifies it. Auxiliary verbs are nothing but grammatical markers and need only be written (and spoken) as full, separate words when required for the sake of emphasis. I’d never write ‘I would never write’ unless that’s what I’d say out loud. And I wouldn’t, now, would I?

Here’s my final selection of apostrophe phrases:

The dog’s bark (is loud)

The dogs bark (when they’re excited)

The dogs’ bark (can be heard for miles around)

The dog’s barking (next door)

The dog’s barked (every time I’ve visited)

What d’you think?


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