[LINK] grammar nazis

Brendan Scott brendansweb at optusnet.com.au
Thu Oct 26 13:29:05 AEST 2006

Ok I'll bite

Ivan Trundle wrote:
> On 26/10/2006, at 11:54 AM, Kim Holburn wrote:
>> This is for those interested in grammar out there:  what do you think
>> of this?

>> http://wsu.edu/~brians/errors/acronyms.html
>>> One unusual modern use of the apostrophe is in plural acronyms, like
>>> “ICBM’s” “NGO’s” and “CD’s”. Since this pattern violates the rule
>>> that apostrophes are not used before an S indicating a plural, many
>>> people object to it. It is also perfectly legitimate to write “CDs,”
>>> etc. See also “50’s.” But the use of apostrophes with initialisms
>>> like “learn your ABC’s and “mind your P’s and Q’s” is now so
>>> universal as to be acceptable in almost any context.

Yes, emerging common usage is wrong - and it's a shame. I assume it's because no one knows what function an apostrophe serves:

How many of the NGOs representatives were there? 
How many of the NGO's representatives were there? 
How many of the NGOs' representatives were there?

Mean different things (actually, the first is just bad grammar). 

That said, maybe people who aren't expert's (even those from Non Governmental Organisation's) cant be expected to work out the in's and out's of apostrophes use.


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