Sir – It is hard to see what upset Nicholas Lawrence so excessively about my article on apostrophes in Oxfordshire Limited Edition (Letters, September 15).

The article certainly wasn’t intended to “recycle the peeves of people who have learnt the mad ‘rules’ and want to feel superior to others”.

My aim was simply to debate the value of the apostrophe. Mr Lawrence seems to want to abolish the apostrophe, even though it has such useful functions as indicating possession and saving readers from momentarily thinking that an author has written shell instead of she’ll.

For instance, remove the apostrophe from this sentence in The Forsyte Saga and it means something completely different: “He’ll never set the Thames on fire”. Mr Lawrence doesn’t seem to realise that punctuation marks are used to clarify meaning, not to make anybody feel superior. Even though he doesn’t believe in the apostrophe, he used several punctuation marks in his letter.

Tony Augarde, Oxford