I have been thinking a lot about apostrophes lately. I believe apostrophes are very important blotches of ink. Last weekend, signs all over London advertised the "Kids Expo" in Victoria Park.
Now see, leaving out the apostrophe (i.e., "kids" instead of "kids'" or "kid's") should lead any thoughtful English-speaker to doubt that this is some innocent fair, and instead picture a creepy nightmare. An apostrophe would tell you that this is an exposition for kids. Instead, we have the apostrophe-free exposition of kids.
I see that missing apostrophe, and I picture tents with kids kneeling on tables, being weighed and measured and inspected. I picture people stopping by, saying things like "quality kid you got there," "nice colour on that one," "got any tips for growing a kid like that?", and "how much for your kid?"
Imagine my surprise when I saw that the expo featured kids running free and having fun, enjoying the things on exhibition rather than being them.
Another example of apostrophe atrophy can be found in nearly any public place, where you will find the "mens" and "womens" washrooms. This is an even worse offender than "kids," because "men" is already plural. Do we go in there to wash our teeths and feetses? I hope there are no mices in there. Oh yeah, and where is the washroom for childrens?
One day I will own a restaurant where you will find signs pointing to MAN WASHROOM and WOMAN WASHROOM. It will be a proud sponsor of the the annual Activities for Children Festival.