1. Aeixious
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    Aeixious Member

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    Referencing letters of the alphabet.

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Aeixious, Mar 23, 2009.

    So lets say I have

    How do I do this? es? ees? 'e's? "e"s? Imagine 5th letter of the alphabet here?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you'd do it just the way you did it in the excerpt...
     
  3. Jonesy
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    Jonesy Member

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    I personally would only use a single '. Though I have no backing to this, it just seems more natural to me.

    The upside-down 'e's and squiggly lines assaulted his tired eyes.
     
  4. luumu
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    luumu Banned

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    I generally use " when it stands alone without the apostrophe "s".
    If it does require an apostrophe I just drop the quotation marks and add it.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that would only be correct in british usage... in the us, it has to be " "... ' ' are only used for quotes within quotes...
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First see mammamaia's note above.

    But next, be clear on why an apostophe might be required. It is neither required nor correst to use an apostrophe followed by an "s" to form a plural:
    An apostrophe would most likely only be needed if you were using a possessive to indicate some property of the letter, but I suspect it would nearly always be better to express the property without using the possessive form.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    actually, it's correct to use an apostrophe to form plural of letters and numbers when they're not enclosed in " "... such as:

    learn your ABC's
    mind your p's and q's
    it happened back in the 1930's
    he's in his 20's
     
  8. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    This is slightly off topic, but I just wanted to say that I do use the ' ' properly when it comes to writing quotes within quotes, but I also try to use the ' ' to show that I'm giving my version of someone else's writing rather than putting that in full quotation marks (that's only really done when I critique someone else's work though.

    As for the e's, I'd think it be appropriate to do it either e's, or "e"s, but I personally would just leave off the quotation marks altogether.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...if they know that's what you're doing, i see no harm in it, but if you did that in writing you intend to submit, it wouldn't make any sense...
     
  10. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    No I only do that in posts on forums :) Not in writing that is going to be reviewed seriously.


    ~Lynn
     
  11. StrixVaria
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    StrixVaria New Member

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    While this is true, it's only because so many people have done it over time, and if you want to be true to the normal rules of the language, it's still not proper. It's devolved over time to the point of ambiguity, and it's still better not to use the apostrophe for clarity's sake.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i actually don't use it unless it's needed to be clear, as i can't ignore the fact that the thing isn't a possessive and being a virgo, it annoys the bleep outa me...
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I didn't thank you earlier for the correction, but I do appreciate it, Maia. Any day I learn something is a good one. I did research it after you corrected me, and you are (as usual) correct.

    But it is an annoying quirk of ignorance becoming canon. How long until the "greengrocer's apostrophe" becomes proper English punctuation as well?
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can't bear to imagine such a day, dear cog! [picture maia cowering under her desk, babbling, 'no apostrophe, no apostrophe, NO apostrophe!']
     

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