The decline of the apostrophe: 6 Minute English

A retired journalist who founded a campaign to preserve the correct use of the apostrophe in the English language. is giving up his battle because he says “ignorance has won”. We discuss what’s causing the decline in the use of this punctuation mark and teach you some vocabulary along the way.

This week’s question
The word ‘apostrophe’ itself – which language does it come from? Is it:

a) Latin

b) Greek

c) Arabic

Listen to the programme to find out the answer.


a pedant
Someone overly concerned with correcting small mistakes

to linger
to stay in a place longer

to wander
to walk around with no real purpose or desire to get somewhere quickly

up in the air
at risk, possibly not going to happen

a lack of knowledge about something

a barbarian
a primitive and uncivilized person

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