Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
#1364 - 04/13/00 09:43 AM Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 1
midnight Offline
stranger
midnight  Offline
stranger

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 1
Hello,

This is driving me nuts! How do I write the plural of an acroynm?

Is it PCs or PC's?

I have been told by someone with a degree that you absolutely don't need an apostrophe, however I found a dictionary definition of apostrophe that says it is used for omission of letters from a word, the possessive case, and the plurals of letters, numbers and abbreviations.

Variations with plurals and possession:

One OS (operating system), many OS's.Many OSs? Many OSes?

It is the OS's primary function. (one operating system, posession)

Is is the OSs' primary function. (many operating systems, posession)

Aaargh. Help!


#1365 - 04/14/00 01:19 PM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
wsieber Offline
old hand
wsieber  Offline
old hand

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,027
Switzerland
Hi,
I remember having encountered "NGOs" for the plural of NGO. A case could also be made for omitting the "s" altogether..


#1366 - 04/14/00 01:44 PM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel
tsuwm  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
this too shall pass
Here's what W3 has to say:
Abbreviations formed by literation and used as nouns add either apostrophe and -s or more often just -s.
GI -> GIs or GI's, IQ -> IQs or IQ's

so I guess it's up to the individual copy editor?


#1367 - 04/20/00 09:57 AM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
shanks Offline
old hand
shanks  Offline
old hand

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,004
London, UK
Hi midnight

As someone with some 'proofchecking' responsibilities in my company, I refuse to allow apostrophes for the plurals of acronyms. I suppose it is a personal thing, but I just can't abide it.

Similarly, I refuse to countenance the abbreviations of decades as 60's and always change it to '60s, and so on.

These are, however, my idiosyncrasies. I think that the apostrophed form will eventually prevail, merely because I see more and more people using it these days as a matter of course. I may wish to preserve the distinction between the various uses: "the PC's peripherals are useless" (singular, possessive); "the PCs have useless peripherals" (plural); and "the PCs' hard drives are useless" (plural, possessive), if only to avoid the plural possessive "the PC's' peripherals are useless and may need to be recalled". (I know this is stretching it, but amateur language mavens like me need our hard cases in order to justify bad, or simply prejudiced, laws!)

cheer

the sunshine warrior


#1368 - 04/20/00 01:51 PM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel
tsuwm  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
this too shall pass
I agree with just adding an -s; but here is an exception. I have coined an acronym for use on my web page and for style purposes have rendered it as lower case (to wit, wwftd) -- just adding -s seems to muddle the acronym, so I have used the -'s form. (to make matters worse, the plural of the expanded acronym leaves the acronym as 'wwftd'...)


#1369 - 04/20/00 05:37 PM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah
jmh  Offline
Pooh-Bah

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,981
I agree there should be no apostrophe.

On the other hand, there's a very simple answer - don't use acronyms.


#1370 - 04/20/00 10:05 PM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 140
lusy Offline
member
lusy  Offline
member

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 140
Melbourne, Australia
I daren't suggest, tsuwm, that the plural of your expanded acronym would strictly be ww'sftd. This way madness lies!

lusy


#1371 - 04/20/00 10:50 PM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 81
Philip Davis Offline
journeyman
Philip Davis  Offline
journeyman

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 81
I agree for many acronyms the plural is logically the acronym without a 's', although if the sense is clear it doesn't really matter (and the way to make the sense clear is to avoid acronyms where possible). More irritating is the habit that some have of sticking s on the end of abbreviations of units of measurement, i.e. 1kg and 10kgs. This is a) unnecessary, since the plural is obvious b) potential confusing since s is the agreed abbreviation for second and 10kgs could be (and under the System International rules should be) read as 10 kilogram seconds. (Oh and these abbreviations are not followed by a full stop (period) either, for similar reasons)


#1372 - 04/20/00 11:10 PM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel
tsuwm  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 10,538
this too shall pass
You're absolutely right, Philip. but the *potential issue is with acronyms that get adopted into the language as new words, a la SNAFU or RADAR; so we can speak of multiple snafus and radars.

I hope that this will be the case with wwftds. <g>

BTW, it's pronounced WIF tid(s)


#1373 - 04/21/00 12:01 AM Re: Plural of an acronym?  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel
AnnaStrophic  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511
lower upstate New York
ww'sftds, schmww'sftds.


Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Jackie 

Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,879
Posts224,119
Members9,030
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
santo, piostylist, prgill, thefoeller, Ajubdeen
9030 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 41 guests, and 2 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters(All Time)
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,538
LukeJavan8 9,037
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.013s Queries: 13 (0.003s) Memory: 2.7265 MB (Peak: 2.8594 MB) Zlib disabled. Server Time: 2017-11-20 15:39:28 UTC