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Plural Apostrophe

Not an apostrophe but not a comma either...
  (+1, -3)
(+1, -3)
  [vote for,

...but somewhere in between. An in-word separator that indicates that the following suffix (usually an 's') is a pluralisation.

Should look like a comma/apostrophe but about halfway up a capital letter.

Substituting a tilde for the plural apostrphe (as I don't yet have it on my keyboard) we get the following grammatical opportunities:
mp3~s, cd~s
toga~s, octopus~s
Brian~s's (belonging to more than one Brian)

...and the crowd-pleasing:
Bill's bill~s were carried by duck~s's bill~s.

[much later...] Better examples: afro~s (makes it sound less like a Greek island), anno~s (used as an abbreviation of annotations), photo~s (used as an abbreviation of photographs).
It has been suggested that these last two can be written as anno's and photo's since you are contracting a longer word. I'd reject this line of reasoning as most people to not write the singular with an apostrophe (i.e. photo', anno').

[a little later than that...] Since many of the tricky ones are abbreviations, maybe we should just use a full stop? Afro.s, anno.s, photo.s, "Bill's bill.s were carried by duck.s' bill.s." Hmmm, works for me.

st3f, Sep 25 2001

Foam Afro's for toddlers http://www.halfbake...7s_20for_20toddlers
It's wrong, but if I take out the apostrophe, people are going to ask, "What's an Afros?" [st3f, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Would this be a viable alternative?:
mp3+s, cd+s, toga+s, octopus+s, Brian+s's...
thumbwax, Sep 25 2001

       You know, St Threef, sometimes I get tired of the futility of trying to get people to use apostrophes correctly. The problem you're addressing is one that really only applies to the plural of acronyms and abbreviations, especially when the last letter is a consonant or number that is pronounced ending with a vowel sound (b,c,d,g,j,k,p,q,t,v,2,3). Thus your examples: mp3 and CD.

I know that what I am about to say may result in my expulsion from Pedants' Anonymous, (apostrophe humbly submitted since I believe it's a society that belongs to the pedants, rather than a society called Anonymous Pedants), I think that perhaps we are onto a losing cause with trying to teach the use of pluralising esses (s~s?). I think we should stick to the apostrophe-s, s-apostrophe lesson; we have enough work to do there. Croissant for the effort, but I don't think it'll work out.

Your other examples are all wrong, I think. I don't see any problem with togas, octopuses/i/odes, and "belonging to more than one Brian" is simply <<the Brians'>> - think of it as if Brian was a surname. And finally: "Bill's bills were carried by ducks' bills." Simply plural bills (financial variety) belonging to person Bill, carried by a number of bills (oral variety) each belonging to a duck.
lewisgirl, Sep 25 2001

pottedstu, Sep 25 2001

       Punster suggests Pleural Apostrophes, which mark bits of the lung which belong there so that surgeons make no mistakes when removing tumors.
Dog Ed, Sep 25 2001

       Given our experience of the problems in handling the euro symbol on computers any *new* symbol has got to be counted right out. If it isn't a character already in, say, the Western European character set now, it never will be.   

       And lewisgirl said it all. (But your expulsion from Pedants' Anonymous was brought about by your self-declaration and hence loss of anonymity.)
snagger, Sep 25 2001

       Added to idea. (bump)
st3f, Jan 23 2003

       I like the idea of doing <i>something</i> to improve the situation with words like MP3's; my personal taste is to use an apostrophe and ignore the pedants. If adding an apostrophe makes the meaning significantly clearer, whether or not some "rule" says it's proper, then by fundamental rule #1 the apostrophe should be used. [Rule #1: Rules intended to help writers communicate effectively should only be followed to the extent that they don't interfere with that aim.]   

       As to the complaints about adding characters, what's wrong with having a rule that says that the new character is used when available and otherwise an apostrophe is used? That philosophy seems to work okay with the en-dash.
supercat, Jan 23 2003

       How does adding an apostrophe to "MP3s" make the meaning significantly clearer? It's not unclear as it is.
waugsqueke, Jan 23 2003

       In the case of MP3, not significantly I'll admit. In some other cases, though, it helps a lot, and not only with plurals.   

       Suppose I am transcribing a sportscast (or writing sports-related dialogue) and a person uses a two-syllable utterance meaning "disqualified". If I wish to write that utterance as spoken, which of the following is most clear: "DQ'ed", "DQed", "dee-queued", or "dequeued"?   

       Also, which is a clearer way of indicating multiple people with doctorates of philosophy (or one person with multiple degrees)? PhD's or PhDs?
supercat, Jan 23 2003

       Hm. Strange, rave, that is certainly incorrect and always has been as far as I recall. Not that anyone really cares.
waugsqueke, Jan 24 2003

       Try discussing the Oakland A's (American baseball team) without an apostrophe.
bookworm, Jan 24 2003

       I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but I thought using the apostrophe for plurals was correct where the apostrophe indicates an ellipsis and that these numbers in MP3 and 90's constitute ellipses because they're digits, not spelled out renderings of numbers. So MPthrees or MP3's would be examples of correct punctuation.
snarfyguy, Jan 24 2003

       The Columbia Guide to Standard American English says it's okay to use them to mark the plurals of numbers or letters (three 6's, two A's). The Columbia Guide also has the ultimate pedant warning:   

       "Apostrophes appearing where they ought not to be or missing from where they ought to be are devastating shibboleths in the view of many Standard users, who will penalize the perpetrators mercilessly for them regardless of whether haste, inadvertence, or ignorance caused the outrage against convention. Be warned."   

       I think we can all appreciate the beauty of that statement.
waugsqueke, Jan 24 2003


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