Here’s a thing. I am not good at punctuation, never was, never have been. Doubt I ever will be. I remember after my first month of English A level, the new teacher took me to one side, and asked what my problem with apostrophes was. I didn’t have a problem. How could I have a problem if I didn’t know something existed. It seems that in a transient education, I had missed that lesson. There then followed a rather embarrassing lesson including dogs, their balls, some children and theirs. Over the next two years, it also transpired that I hadn’t been taught commas, colons and semi-colons. my poor teacher tried to repair the damage but I think my fate was sealed. Plus I have a natural disregard for rules; this also applies to spelling.
Anyway, all this came back when I read a recent discussion on single or double speech marks. I have only just recovered from the shock of hearing that, apparently, its wrong to have two spaces after a full stop these days. So this latest revelation left me reeling. Speech marks. “These” are what I consider speech marks but apparently not. Apparently, the tide has gone out on that one, and left me clinging to the rocks, along with the Americans. Now, now in our glorious new future ‘These’ are speech marks. Great, more sodding apostrophes. What’s wrong with the double apostrophe? At least it can’t be confused with anything else. Sixty six and ninety nine. Simple. I was highly dubious about the use of a single speech mark so I started pulling books off a shelf and lo! How unobservant am I? All my UK books use ‘ ‘ and all my US books use ” “.
Why? Just why? A perfectly good and clear system has been upended in the name of what?
Anyway, I shall continue to use “” and two spaces after a full stop. Because I am a rebel. And also very lazy and can’t be bothered to re-train my brain.