Is the use of apostrophes really worth a debate?

apostrophe20quiz20imageDear Bradford Council,

The apostrophe is an important part of our punctuation it helps us show possession of something, for example Tom’s pen and it also helps us show a contraction (missing of a letter), for example you’re instead of you are.

Now would it really be that bad if we just completely abolished the use of them just to save everyone the confusion? Yes it would!

You would have the children of our society going to school and learning the uses of punctuation such as this, to then have them walking out on the street and being completely confused due to their own council’s laziness. If the council doesn’t even follow the rules of punctuation how can you expect the children not to turn around and start asking why they must follow it?

It could be debated as where and when the rules of punctuation need to be so harshly followed however, something so obvious to the public, should not be up for debate as it simply sets a bad example which others would soon follow.


Naming That ‘-nym’…

English contains a lot of “-nyms” and “isms”. Below are just a few examples of key words learned.

Hypernym is a linguistic term for a word whose meaning includes the meanings of other words. For instance, flower is a hypernym of daisy and rose. Hyponym, on the other hand is a word with a more narrow meaning: it includes examples within a catergory.

E.g: Daisies and roses belong to the semantic field of flower.

Euphemism- mild, indirect way of saying something socially unacceptable. E.g: you’re dog has passed away?

Dysphemism: negative, derogatory way of saying something.

E.g: you’re dog’s died/ where’s the pee-pot. I need a wee.


1.     Finally, synonyms:

  1. a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in the same language, for example shut is a synonym of close.





Lexis and Semantics

Key Definitions:

  • Lexis- Vocabulary
  • Semantics- Words that mean different things depending  on the audience, context and the way they are said.

In English, there are approximately 1.2 million words. English has a huge lexicon because it has so many synonyms.  By synonyms we mean words which have similar meanings or are similar to each other for example comical and hilarious which both connote something happy. They are the not the same word however they have the same meaning this is what is meant by synonyms.

Synonyms are useful to use when studying english language as it can develop your writing skills  and make your writing more descriptive.


Example of synonyms

Word class

Nouns:  names a person, place or thing

  • Proper noun:  refers to places and names e.g. Zayn, New York
  • Abstract noun:  refers to feelings and concepts which you can not physically see e.g you cant see if someone is angry
  • Concrete noun: refers to objects which you can physically see e.g a chair

Nouns are useful in the study of english language and literature as it tells the reader what the you are talking about.


Verbs: identify an action or state of being

  • Material: shows and action or event e.g. run and build
  • Relational: It identifies properties or shows states of being

Image result for relational verbs

  • Mental:  shows sensing and feeling e.g. think, believe and wish
  • Verbal : process of saying e.g. say, shout  and scream


 Adjectives ad adverbs:  An adjective describes a noun or a pronoun whereas  an adverb describes verbs and adjectives.

  • Base:  A basic form of an adjective or adverb, modifying another word e.g. big and interesting
  • Comparative: Comparing two instances together either adding ‘ er ‘ or using ‘ more’ e.g. that was a more interesting game
  • Superlative:  A form used to compare more than two things together


Key words:

  • Hypernym: Words with a broad meaning
  • Hyponym: Words with a narrow meaning
  • Euphemism: A mild, often indirect way of saying something socially unacceptable or negative
  • Dysphemism:  Negative , unpleasant or derogatory way



Should the Hansard Report be Edited?

Dear Naz Shah,

Recently, in my English classes, the topic of the Hansard report was brought to my attention and how these official documents are apparently ‘edited verbatim’. This description of the reports is quite contradictory as it suggests they are the original and literal accounts, yet are also modified in some way where they are possibly corrupted. Obviously, this makes no sense. So, in light of this information,a debate arose as to whether the Hansard Report should be edited or left in its literal state and, as a result, I have acquired a number of valid points for both sides of the argument. These points are what I would like to present to you in this written exposé as well as an explanation as to why I believe that Hansard should remain in verbatim.

In defense of alterations, any actual differences between the original speech and the report often make no significant changes to the content as a whole. In fact, most changes actually make the reports easier to understand and read in the future such as the removal of pronouns that are only contextually relevant. Any changes to the reports would also be unlikely to corrupt the original meaning as they would be too slight or not significant enough. Therefore, providing most if not all of the key information is recorded without error, the integrity of the report isn’t damaged.

In addition, it is perfectly reasonable to suggest an edit for each account as it would allow for the reports to seem more formal due the exclusion of imperfections such as false starts and fillers. The inclusion of such things may be seen as unprofessional since the reports must be in a state where they can be formally presented at a later date.


However, on the other hand, the use of editing would remove important factors of spoken language such as pauses, fillers and false starts. Although these are imperfections and are certainly aesthetically unprofessional (as stated before), they are essential when attempting to gain an insight as to the manner of which the words were said. Each individual pause, for example, could be vital in deciding whether the speaker was lacking preparation since a long pause would imply a requirement for premeditated thought. All this would mean that, if the Hansard reports were edited, all utterances were spoken confidently and without the need for extended times of contemplating.

Further explaining the point, the Hansard reports do not require editing as its pure form shows the literal and thus most reliable record of events. Simply put, if the reports are changed at all, the reliability could be compromised if only by a small margin.

In conclusion, I think that future Hansard reports should remain unedited since the flaws in spoken language can allow for a lot more information to be deduced. Also, as the accounts are indeed official documents, the unedited versions would be of greater use in courts due to their exactness and complete truth.



Apostrophes. Are they even needed?

apostrophe_800Whoever would have thought apostrophes could be that controversial. So controversial that some cities have banned them, only to lift the ban after citizen protest.

Birmingham City Council said the move had been taken for the purposes of consistency and to avoid costs and confusion over whether place names should ever take an apostrophe; yet also to end time consuming queries. Honestly, apostrophes are redundant, and the difference they actually make are only small. Tremendous amounts of money are spent every year by businesses on proof readers, part of whose job is to put apostrophes in the ‘correct’ place – to no semantic effect whatsoever. What’s the point? If it can’t be done correctly, then why be done at all?

On the other hand some believe that not using apostrophes is a sign of regression, like the words are being dumbed down. All over the UK, teachers are trying to teach children correct grammar and punctuation, however with the ban on apostrophes the children will not understand from right and wrong if society becomes different to academia. The abolishment could prove to be the first step towards linguistic anarchy and who would want that? So I guess you could say, apostrophes are pretty important (only in some cases really).

To be completely honest, I don’t think apostrophes are needed whatsoever, unless it’s for contractions like were and we’re, hell and he’ll, but only due to the confusion it can create. Other than that, all other words are pronounced and read the same, so is there really any need for them in the English language today?

Should apostrophes be banned?

Image result for apostrophes

Dear Bradford council,

I believe that apostrophes are detrimental to our English language and should not be banned from street signs. What is the point in having punctuation and grammar rules if they aren’t going to be used properly?

The apostrophe has two main uses in our English language, to mark contradictions and to show possession. There can be disagreements as to when we should use them, but in my opinion I think they shouldn’t be missed of street signs.

We can use apostrophes for showing omission of letters in a contraction. You’re (you are) We’re (we are). We also use them before the S to show possessive of singular nouns. By missing them out on street signs we wont be teaching everyone the correct ways on how to use them.

Language and punctuation is powerful and it should not just be put off for the sake of a street sign. Misuse of apostrophes on street signs can pick up bad habits for everyone.


Letter re Hansard

Dear Naz Shah,

I am writing to you today to discuss the topic that is the Hansard report, I am discussing this topic as it came up in one of my English lessons and was described as the ‘edited verbatim’. I wonder if anything that is said in parliament should be edited as it is important that the records are kept as true as possible.

Firstly, some points in the report will not be exactly the same as what has gone on during a parliamentary meeting. Although I do believe that most of the fillers and elisions should be edited certain points shouldn’t be. I say this because certain fillers used are a part of the speech that is being presented to the audience present to listen. By removing these certain points in the speech that particular part can change its meaning or indeed lose part of its meaning as the person recording it hasn’t picked up on it.

Hansard should edit its reports for a few reasons. Firstly, Hansard removes any imperfections in the speech of the person. This makes the report easier to read. This is a good thing as long as all the key points in the speech are taken note off and edited accordingly. If this is done properly without the report losing any of its meaning and keeps the report in the proper context that it was first presented in, then I am all for editing the reports. This also makes the reports easier to understand to a new person reading it.

Also, we should also edit parliamentary reports to possibly correct any grammatical errors in it. Grammatical errors in a report isn’t right and they should be eliminated from the records. I believe this because they make the piece grammatically wrong and they also make it harder to read. By editing the reports, we not only right any errors in the piece but we make it easier to read. In reports communication is key.

Some people may disagree with editing reports though. They would argue that it removes the context that the report was written in in parts of the report. Also editing the report would lose important and useful features such as pauses. Pauses are placed in the speech we use to engage the audience and gives them tie to process the information that has been put to them. By editing the report’s, we lose these small, really important details that bring important speeches together. It is vital that we don’t lose these points but during the process of editing many are in advert ably lost. This means that the speech loses some of its convincing language.

Should Hansard be edited?

Dear Naz Shah,

The controversial Hansard has recently come up in my A-level English language lessons and throughout this essay I will give my thoughts and opinions on the matter. The recorded words spoken in every court or official debate is called Hansard and the accounts are recorded in ‘edited verbatim’. The term itself is extremely confusing as verbatim means the exact words spoken however, how can the accounts be exact if they have been modified? Aside from this we are left with the question should Hansard be edited or just simply left in its basic condition?

Firstly I believe that Hansard should be left in its original state as pauses for example, that would not be recorded in the accounts, are sometimes vital components of what the person is saying and therefore the reader may miss the overall meaning of the words. For example the speaker may pause for emphasis however this would become completely lost in the Hansard account. This is why I believe that Hansard should not be edited as by removing even the smallest of pauses or words the meaning can be completely changed.

Also Hansard removes fillers from its work  such as (erm and like) which may cause the false presumption that the speaker is well spoken with no fillers or pauses which may also suggest that they are confident when in actual fact they are not. This might be an extremely important factor that is not picked up it the Hansard account and could play a significant role in the verdict of what the person said.imagevaulthandler-aspx

However I can understand the need for removing fillers as, in the demanding society that we live in, there is no time for reading ‘unnecessary’ words. Editing also removes spoken mistakes such as ones made and then repeated which again removes time consuming errors that can be ‘cut out’. This works providing that the eliminated text has little or no significance which it rarely does.

Thirdly, some might say that if the piece was recorded ‘word for word’ then other factors such as accents and speech pattern must also be taken into consideration. In doing this it would make the account almost impossible to read and comprehend which could affect the meaning taken away from what was actually said.

Finally, some people might argue that some of the recorded and edited text may have been adapted to go against the speaker. For example the meaning of what was said could have been lost or changed when under edit and could be used against the person as false evidence. Thus, some people believe that the whole speech should be recorded and so every word that was said is available for viewing.

To conclude I believe that Hansard should not be edited as in such sensitive subjects as courts and debates the full spoken record should be available and not be left to an editor to decide what is important and what is not. Although the idea of removing unwanted text seems appropriate, it is almost impossible for an editor to make the decisions without removing some useful text or pauses and so I believe that Hansard should not be edited.


Apostrophes – should we ban them?


A council has decided to abolish apostrophes on its street signs because staff spend too much time dealing with punctuation complaints. Some people are up in arms, saying it’s “dumbing down” and “linguistic anarchy”.

  1. Read the article.
  2. Make a list of all the reasons you think apostrophes SHOULD be removed.
  3. Make a list of all the reasons you think apostrophes SHOULD NOT be removed.
  4. Write a balanced report to Bradford Council which explains:
    1. Your reasons for removing apostrophes from street signs.
    2. Your reasons against removing apostrophes for street signs.
    3. Your final evaluation and recommendation about apostrophes.
  5. Post your report on this blog. You should include
    • A title.
    • A picture
    • Categories.
    • Tags.


Dear Naz Shah,

I’m sure you’ve been asked about Hansard, often people wonder if Hansard which is said to be the unedited true account of everything said in parliament should be edited.

A reports have shown, Hansard is said to be the ‘edited verbatim’ which means that the fillers, and elisions have been edited out, this have caused two arguments; where some believe that it is right for the Hansard to be edited, because removing fillers and elisions makes reading the Hansard easy and less confusing, in case of future reference.

Also, some people believe that the rephrasing the Hansard is acceptable, because we generally speak and write differently. If the Hansard should be left unedited, others factors will have to considered, like accents, pronunciation, and speech pattern. Which in turn would make it more difficult to comprehend when reading, therefore it’s appropriate that the Hansard should be edited.

However, some people believe that the Hansard should not be edited, they believe that whatever is said in parliament should only be the unedited truth, so we the citizens know exactly what been said, fillers and elision also should be included so the claim that its unedited is not rather ironic.

 Furthermore, people believe that it’s our basic rights to be told the truth, because we voted these MP’s into parliament, if what we are told is edited then its makes it a white lie, causing mistrust among the government and its citizen, which could lead to protest or riots although editing the Hansard might seem innocent but it might lead to many difficulties for the country.

In conclusion, I believe that the Hansard should be edited to make it easier to read and easy to find for future reference, the glitches, fillers and elision should be removed, and edited verbatim should be allowed, the Hansard should continue therefore to inform the citizen of edited verbatim.