1. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Pluralizing Acronyms??

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by John Carlo, Jan 2, 2011.

    Okay, I have a made up acronym in my book which is A-B (yes with the dash in there). If I wanted to pluralize it, would I put an apostrophe s, so that it would read A-B's? I'm asking because I recently read in a book where someone wrote "yeses" and "noes". I found this to be so awkward looking. I would think it's yes's and no's. Is there an official rule?
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    You'd insert an apostrophe if you were using it as a singular. So for example:

    All of the DVDs are on sale for $10.

    This DVD's price tag shows $5, but I think it's a mistake.
    ---

    The fact that you've got a dash between the letters shouldn't make any difference, you just follow the usual rules.
     
  3. Sarah's Mom
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    Sarah's Mom Member

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    Yes. It's apostrophe's mean possession or missing letters, never plural. "Yeses" is correct.

    "Several A-Bs crashed into the arena and firebombed the crowd."

    Or, you could make the whole thing less awkward by having the people in your book refer to the A-Bs (not an acronym, BTW) as an aybee, or several aybees. It's what folks do, after all.
     
  4. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    "Yes" and "no" aren't acronyms, they're words.

    "Yes's" would be like someone named yes... hey, that's yes's no, put it down.

    Would it be rude of me to post a 'let me google that for you' link searching for 'pluralizing acronyms?'

    Basically, just an s, unless it's possessive.

    That's a sign for the two A-Bs. But that one isn't A-B's sign.
     
  5. Gannon
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    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

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    As per this thread, which may assist you further: http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=6265

    Note the last paragraph in particular. Whilst some authors use the apostrophe in all plural abbreviated forms, this tends to be limited to established authors with enough clout to define their own style.
     
  6. Haribo Icecream
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    Haribo Icecream Member

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    For a plural, it is never correct to use apostophes.

    However, an apostrophe can also be used to show something has been abbreviated, so the apostrophes in "yes's" and "no's" could show the e has been taken out =)
     
  7. Spacer
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    Spacer Active Member

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    I seem to remember something, from grade school, about using it when the word isn't a normal noun. "I found seven the's on this page."
     
  8. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not entirely correct. Letters and abbreviations may use an apostrophe, particularly with lower or mixed case to avoid confusion:

    (ref - the Chicago Manual of Style, 13th Edition. 7.15-16)
     
  10. UberNoodle
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    UberNoodle Senior Member

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    My understand of the rules is that:

    1. an apostrophe once denoted plurals for years and numbers, but apparently not now. I was taught at school to write "in the 1970's" and "I have many CD's". Perhaps the problem is that many acronyms today have been given actual noun status. Would we write that "most CBDs are polluted" or that "most C.B.D.s are polluted" or that "most C.B.D.'s are polluted"?
    2. it is used when the plural 's' will cause confusion, ie when something not usually counted is pluralised. This rule is debated but I wonder why in many cases. For example, if you were counting the instances of 'yes' and 'no', you'd write, "yes's and no's" not "yesses and noes", although you could. If you were counting lowercase letters, you'd write, "a's and b's" and not "as and bs" or "aes and bees". Uppercase letters are arguably included, resulting in "A's and B's" not "As and Bs".

    This is how I was taught in school. If it has changed, I would love to know.

    (EDIT - my questions were answered while I writing this post)
     

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