Little squiggly thing

Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2007

The debate over the apostrophe reassures me that there still are a few people - not to be confused with "peoples" - who know what one is.

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Recently, Medicare refused payment of my hospital claim. When I called Medicare, the agent eventually discovered that the claim had been submitted for "Darmand" rather than "d-hyphen-a-r-m-a-n-d."

"Apostrophe," I corrected her.

Again she spelled my name, calling the apostrophe a hyphen. Again I corrected her by saying, "That's an apostrophe, not a hyphen." The next time, she spelled it, she said, "d - and that little squiggly thing." Once again, I tried to teach her the word "apostrophe." Finally, she said, "They left the postrophe out." That's as close as she got.

Don't - notice the apostrophe - they teach the apostrophe in school anymore? I've learned that most of my university students don't know the difference between "it's" and "its," but I presumed that they knew that little squiggly thing was called an apostrophe!

John d'Armand

Auke Bay

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