1. Iaevich
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    Iaevich Member

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    Apostrophes...

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Iaevich, Sep 4, 2008.

    So, these are two things that I'm finding somewhat confusing.

    Are both of these correct? They both appear to describe an analyst which belongs to, or is at least part of, Human Resources. The first is a compound noun, and the second is use of the possessive apostrophe.

    Human Resources analyst

    AND

    Human Resources' analyst

    Secondly, I understand the greengrocer's apostrophe is incorrect usage (e.g. "potato's and carrot's"), but I was wondering if acronyms can ever be considered words (e.g. CDs and DVDs), and prior to that point I wondered if usage of the apostrophe to denote plurality has become acceptable? My instinct would say it has not, but in the vast majority of instances, MPs are referred to as MP's (which I would think is wrong). I presume this will become the correct convention ultimately, but I'd be interested to know if it was already the case.

    Thanks!
     
  2. onionmon
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    onionmon New Member

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    When I first looked at the 2, I thought the first was an employee who analyzed Human Resources. The second, I got the meaning of "an analyst which belongs to, or is at least part of, Human Resources."

    If you are writing the job description, I'd suggest the second; it clarifies where the employee will work. If you really want to be picky, go "Human Resources's analyst"--similar to "Chris's bike."

    See http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=499296 below:

    It is no longer considered necessary or even correct to create the
    plural of years or decades or abbreviations with an apostrophe.

    - He wrote several novels during the 1930s.
    - There are fifteen PhDs on our faculty.
    - My sister and I have identical IQs.
     
  3. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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  4. Iaevich
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    Iaevich Member

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    Thanks for your replies, both.

    Onionmon

    I agree with the ambiguity, but I think it is still grammatically correct (inasmuch as it represents a compound noun (e.g. a sports car)).

    Ganon

    To form the plural of an abbreviation with periods, a lowercase letter used as a noun, and abbreviations or capital letters that would be ambiguous or confusing if the /s/ alone were added, use an apostrophe and an /s/.

    · A group of Ph.D.'s
    · The x's of the equation
    · Sending SOS's

    While some authors use the apostrophe in all plural abbreviated forms, it is generally best avoided except as above to prevent ambiguity with the possessive form.


    This confused me. It suggests that use of the apostrophe in this instance is entirely subjective, and I was quite surprised that there wasn't a specific rule for the above. It makes sense, I just thought that there might be a rule which could be followed in all instances!
     
  5. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe the 'rule' in this instance is as follows:

    The apostrophe should not be used in plural abreviated forms so as to avoid confusion over possession. Exceptions to this rule are as follows:

    To form the plural of 1) an abbreviation with periods, 2) a lowercase letter used as a noun, and 3) abbreviations or capital letters that would be ambiguous or confusing if the /s/ alone were added. In these cases use an apostrophe and an /s/.

    · A group of Ph.D.'s
    · The x's of the equation
    · Sending SOS's

    As such the optional sylistic that some authors choose to add the apostrophe to all plural abreviated forms is viable but inadvisable. You are correct however that this appears to be a optional variant stylistic rather than a hard and fast grammar rule.
     

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