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Are you supposed to put an apostrophe + "s" when using multiples of an acronym?

 
 
iGeo
 
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 05:01 pm
Are you supposed to put an apostrophe + "s" when using multiples of an acronym? I'm of course referring to the non-possessive use of the acronyms.

For example, "When one of the third party grading companies raised their coin grading fees, the rest of the TPG's followed suit."

Or, do you leave the "s" without the apostrophe?

Thanks in advance!
 
dalehileman
 
  0  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 05:07 pm
@iGeo,
Geo, it's almost always used. Don't know why, it's a mystery to me too
iGeo
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 05:27 pm
@dalehileman,
So there's no known formal grammar rule for this?

Or, is it formal / proper to use the apostrophe + "s", but there's no clear explanation or logical reason why (besides perhaps out of convention based on people's habit of using it over time)?

Or, is it grammatically improper to use the apostrophe + "s", but people do it anyway, perhaps because it's grammatically such a minor point that it's both overlooked and ignored?

If it's the former two, I'll keep using the apostrophe + "s" (I believe that you're referring to one of these two cases). If it's the latter, then I'll keep the apostrophe out in the future.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 08:59 pm
@iGeo,
I used to insist on doing it like this: NGOs. However, not too long ago I read where the apostrophe is actually preferred by many/most professional writers and stylists: NGO's.

http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/acronyms.html

That's not to say that the issue isn't debated, though:


http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/55970/plurals-of-acronyms-letters-numbers-use-an-apostrophe-or-not

http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/503/what-is-the-correct-way-to-pluralize-an-acronym
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 09:15 pm
@FBM,
If it is presented as Ngo, I think the apostrophe is essential to keep Ngo from being confused with some other abbreviation. Ngos could be something entirely different. If NGO is in all caps, NGOs is entirely clear.

I'm sure that my own inconsistency wouldn't make a good rule.
FBM
 
  3  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 09:36 pm
@roger,
Yup. When I'm doing academic writing, I have to abide by the MLA guidelines. They say, in so many words, in cases like this rules be damned, do whatever makes your meaning clearest. Successful communication is the ultimate goal, not rule-following.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 09:44 pm
@FBM,
I learned an important lesson when I worked for Florsheim in management. My boss told me to write administrative letters to managers to the dumbest one. My secretary was very helpful in accomplishing that feat.
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 09:55 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Laughing Good advice there.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 10:06 pm
@FBM,
About that secretary: she saw the potential of having an accounting degree, so she began her studies not long after that. Her name was Barbara, but I didn't hear back from her before I left Illinois to return to California.
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 10:10 pm
@cicerone imposter,
That is, to me, unfathomable. I took exactly one Accounting class in university. Hated every aspect of the classwork. Dropped the class even though the prof was a knock-out redhead, so that tells you how much I hated it.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 10:13 pm
@FBM,
I ran into accounting by a fluke, because all business majors had to take accounting 101, and I got an A. The rest, as they say, is history. LOL Made a pretty good living off of it too!
FBM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 10:15 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Accountants do bring home some pretty decent bacon, don't they? Maybe if I'd known that at the time, I might have changed my mind about it.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  4  
Reply Wed 30 Dec, 2015 10:49 pm
@iGeo,
Personally, I don't think it's ever correct to use apostrophes to indicate plurals.
neologist
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 01:46 am
@FBM,
Will FBM's assertion apply to all the FBMs in the world?
Pretty clear to me.
Very Happy
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 06:12 pm
@neologist,
Indeed!
0 Replies
 
Tes yeux noirs
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 06:33 pm
@Brandon9000,
Quote:
I don't think it's ever correct to use apostrophes to indicate plurals.

Absolutely. Thank you. At last. Photo's, taxi's, 1's and 2's, NGO's, IED's - all wrong.


Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 Dec, 2015 06:40 pm
@Tes yeux noirs,
As a former tech writer, we used to talk about things that made our hair strand on ends. it's this use:

Prime example was the persistent spelling of CD's. and the same for PC's.

Why put an apostrophe there as the plural of the word? Made no sense.
Tes yeux noirs
 
  3  
Reply Fri 1 Jan, 2016 04:11 am
@Ragman,
Quote:
Why put an apostrophe there as the plural of the word?

My guess is that CD and PC are initialisms, and some people seem to think they need an apostrophe before the plural s. They don't.

There is, unfortunately, varying advice about this, especially on the web. I take the orthodox view that follows, which is from Oxford Dictionaries:

The general rule is that you should not use an apostrophe to form the plurals of nouns, abbreviations, or dates made up of numbers: just add -s (or -es, if the noun in question forms its plural with -es). For example: euros, pizzas, the 1990s.

There are one or two cases in which it is acceptable to use an apostrophe to form a plural, purely for the sake of clarity:

You can use an apostrophe to show the plurals of single letters: I've dotted the i's and crossed the t's; find all the p's in appear.

You can use an apostrophe to show the plurals of single numbers: find all the number 7’s. (Yes, this contradicts what I wrote above, where I said you shouldn't, You can do this, but you don't have to)

These are the only cases in which it is generally considered acceptable to use an apostrophe to form plurals. An apostrophe should never be used to form the plural of ordinary nouns, names, abbreviations, or numerical dates.

0 Replies
 
Tes yeux noirs
 
  3  
Reply Fri 1 Jan, 2016 04:19 am
@iGeo,
Quote:
the TPG's


Note to the OP: TPG is an initialism, not an acronym. The difference is that acronyms are pronounced as words e.g. NATO, SCUBA, SIM, whereas an initialism is pronounced as the individual letters e.g. USA, BBC, NAACP.
0 Replies
 
Tes yeux noirs
 
  2  
Reply Fri 1 Jan, 2016 09:16 am
I wonder what troll voted down my perfectly good, accurate and checkable advice?

0 Replies
 
 

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