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I can find no reference that agrees with you - what's yours? The nearest thing I can find is that Hart's Rules (aka Oxford Guide to Style) allows constructions like 'do's as an alternative to dos for the plurals of words as objects, and a certain recent popular book on punctuation has mistaken this for do's - it would be easy to carry this mistake over to capital abbreviations, I suppose.

 

Paul

 

The language allows for the use of the apostrophe for plurals to remove abiguity - i.e. we could talk about dotting the is, but I think you would find it easier if I wrote i's instead.

 

It is also valid to use 's to denote plurals of capital letters, numbers and symbols, e.g. 's or 1970's or CD's. I have no reference for this - I don't even own an English language dictionary. I am pretty certain that the same text to which you refer above (the Lynne Truss, not Hart!) will agree with me. The best I can do is cite a few websites.

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The language allows for the use of the apostrophe for plurals to remove abiguity - i.e. we could talk about dotting the is, but I think you would find it easier if I wrote i's instead.

 

It is also valid to use 's to denote plurals of capital letters, numbers and symbols, e.g. 's or 1970's or CD's. I have no reference for this - I don't even own an English language dictionary. I am pretty certain that the same text to which you refer above (the Lynne Truss, not Hart!) will agree with me. The best I can do is cite a few websites.

 

Cheer's for this Adrian. I have a usage dictionary, but it's at least 16p away from my desk, and 0030h is far too late to be looking up such things.

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I am pretty certain that the same text to which you refer above (the Lynne Truss, not Hart!) will agree with me.

[pedant]

 

Lynne Truss does indeed allow the apostrophe to indicate plurals of words, as in do's and don't's, but's and and's. Well, never trust a book that doesn't have an index, that's all I can say.

 

Personally I'd put more faith in The Oxford Guide to Style which, as Paul points out, stipulates that, where confusion might arise, you should either put the word within quotes ('do's and 'don't's) or in italics (dos and don'ts - note the s is not italicised). Otherwise it advises against using the apostrophe when creating plurals, including abbreviations such as QCs, SOSs, the 1990s, etc.

 

[/pedant]

 

I'd hate anyone to construe from the above that I think I know anything about English. I was once conned into spending a few weeks teaching it to a group of Swedish teenagers. It was one of the most embarrassing experiences of my life: the two adult Swedes in charge of them knew far more about how our language worked than I had ever learnt. Still, some of the girls were fun.

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Perfectly valid and correct use of the apostrophe - use when indicating a plural of a capitalised abbreviation. Current "thinking" says no on this, but, until recently, it was deemed the correct way.

 

Sorry - as far as I know this has never been correct. It denotes a plural - not a possessive. If I were to write a report for one of my grammar school pupils which contained a similar error, it would get no further than the Director of Music, before being returned with a note requesting a fresh (and corrected) report. There was, in any case, no ambiguity in David's sentence, therefore the apostrohe is redundant.

 

1970's is also incorrect in the context in which you implied its usage.

 

For the record, I cite The Oxford Manual of Style.

 

Otherwise it advises against using the apostrophe when creating plurals, including abbreviations such as QCs, SOSs, the 1990s, etc.

 

Thank you for this, Vox - I had thought it likely that two heads of English in two good schools were at fault - to say nothing of the possibility of The Oxford Manual of Style being incorrect....

 

Incidentally, I also dislike this amalgamation of responses. I would still prefer the old Mander branding; I find the default typeface aesthetically offensive.

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It is also valid to use 's to denote plurals of capital letters, numbers and symbols,

 

By " 's " I assume you mean " ''s "

 

:huh:

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1970's is also incorrect in the context in which you implied its usage.

 

's to denote plurals of numbers is perfectly acceptable usage. I am a total pedant about apostrophes, and get really ****ed off when I see them being as plurals, but in this case CD's and 1970's there is nothing wrong. Has anyone got a copy of a) that Truss book (I hate the title!), :huh: Fowler?

 

You may have been taught one way by some very good teachers, pcnd, but I would argue that I have been taught by equally good people. Some of these points of punctuation/grammar/spelling are institution specific - just look at spellings of organisation and organization - the OED, I believe goes for the z, whereas you can find other "British" English dictionaries that give you it with an s (Collins, I think, for one?) I believe the same is true of this usage of the 's for a very specific number of plurals - the *Oxford* Manual of Style implies that it is associated with an institution and mandates the writing style as laid down by that institution.

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's to denote plurals of numbers is perfectly acceptable usage. I am a total pedant about apostrophes, and get really ****ed off when I see them being as plurals, but in this case CD's and 1970's there is nothing wrong. Has anyone got a copy of a) that Truss book (I hate the title!), :huh: Fowler?

Reluctant, as I am, to enter this discussion, a brief look at Hart, Fowler and Truss suggests that the use of the apostrophe in the plurals of abbreviations and numerals was commonplace until recently, but is now thought best omitted. This, presumably, is part of the same ink and paper saving strategy made into a fine art by music publishers.

JC

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Reluctant, as I am, to enter this discussion, a brief look at Hart, Fowler and Truss suggests that the use of the apostrophe in the plurals of abbreviations and numerals was commonplace until recently, but is now thought best omitted. This, presumably, is part of the same ink and paper saving strategy made into a fine art by music publishers.

JC

 

My point exactly.

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's to denote plurals of numbers is perfectly acceptable usage. I am a total pedant about apostrophes, and get really ****ed off when I see them being as plurals, but in this case CD's and 1970's there is nothing wrong. Has anyone got a copy of a) that Truss book (I hate the title!), :D Fowler?

 

You may have been taught one way by some very good teachers, pcnd, but I would argue that I have been taught by equally good people. Some of these points of punctuation/grammar/spelling are institution specific - just look at spellings of organisation and organization - the OED, I believe goes for the z, whereas you can find other "British" English dictionaries that give you it with an s (Collins, I think, for one?) I believe the same is true of this usage of the 's for a very specific number of plurals - the *Oxford* Manual of Style implies that it is associated with an institution and mandates the writing style as laid down by that institution.

 

I am also reluctant to prolong this matter. However, I have just spoken with a colleague (who is an approved proof-reader for OUP). She disagrees that it was acceptable until recently. As far as OUP is concerned, the apostrophe simply denotes a possessive state and should not be used in these cases.

 

Whilst I recognise your point regarding the teaching which you received, neverthless, I can think of many institutions which adhere to the same rules as OUP in these cases.

 

Adrian, it is unlikely that I will persuade you that you are mistaken; it is equally unlikely that you will convince me that I am in error. Therefore I have a cunning plan - we could call this a stalemate and return to writing about organs.

 

B)

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I am also reluctant to prolong this matter. However, I have just spoken with a colleague (who is an approved proof-reader for OUP). She disagrees that it was acceptable until recently. As far as OUP is concerned, the apostrophe simply denotes a possessive state and should not be used in these cases.

Then perhaps your colleague should proof-read the third edition (1996) of The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, published by OUP, that states; "Though once commonly used in the plural of abbreviations, the apostrophe is now best omitted in such circumstances". 15 all?

JC

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Then perhaps your colleague should proof-read the third edition (1996) of The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, published by OUP, that states; "Though once commonly used in the plural of abbreviations, the apostrophe is now best omitted in such circumstances". 15 all?

JC

 

Which still does not alter the fact that, whatever may have been the views of any institution, it is now accepted that it is unnecessary - whether or not one allows that it also may be incorrect.

 

I shall continue to eschew the use of redundant apostrophes. Of course, David may do as he chooses.

 

:D

 

Just one quote: (from The Oxford Manual of Style)

 

p. 115:

 

"5.2.2. Do not use the apostrophe when creating plurals. This includes names, abbreviations (with or without full points), numbers, and words not usually used as nouns...."

 

(There follows a list which includes 'the 1990s'.)

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Having had time to look in the books (the builders are in - with vacuum cleaner en chamade!), I learned something new. It is Queen's College, Oxford but Queens' College, Cambridge. I am delighted to note that NPOR has it absolutely correct. You will now be pleased to hear that I have put my pedant's hat away for the weekend. :D

JC

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Having had time to look in the books (the builders are in - with vacuum cleaner en chamade!), I learned something new. It is Queen's College, Oxford but Queens' College, Cambridge. I am delighted to note that NPOR has it absolutely correct. You will now be pleased to hear that I have put my pedant's hat away for the weekend. B)

JC

 

As have I - have a good week-end, John.

 

(I would be grateful if no-one begins a new sub-thread on the use of the hyphen.)

 

:D

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Which still does not alter the fact that, whatever may have been the views of any institution, it is now accepted that it is unnecessary - whether or not one allows that it also may be incorrect.

 

"It is now accepted" ... That doesn't make it correct, either. Accepted by whom? It is accepted by many teenagers to use txt spk and 2 say thanx. Doesn't make it correct. Some might say that the ' is accepted as being unnecessary, certainly 80% of the people I deal with on a daily basis haven't got a bloody clue how to use them, so often just don't bother.

 

 

Adrian, it is unlikely that I will persuade you that you are mistaken; it is equally unlikely that you will convince me that I am in error. Therefore I have a cunning plan - we could call this a stalemate and return to writing about organs.

 

Sounds fair - can I taunt you about tubas versus chamades then, just to get another discussion going on which we'll never agree?

 

 

Grrr!!! Just another example of this stupid amalgamation - I read your post about stalemate *after* having made the above post. By amalgamating it, this board now makes it look like I purposefully extended the argument then agreed with the stalemate, which would be a contradiction!

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The middle 'fanfare' from the above snipet could be quite fun as a mobile phone ring tone perhaps?

 

AJJ

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"Now tell me, what did Mummy's little pet learn at school today?"

 

"I learned two boys not to call me 'Mummy's little pet' any more."

 

The middle 'fanfare' from the above snipet could be quite fun as a mobile phone ring tone perhaps?

So long as the last note goes down and not up!

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"learnt", surely?

I refer the honourable member to the answer I gave earlier... The pedant is off duty for the weekend. However, I agree that "learnt" is an acceptable, chiefly British, corruption of the past tense.

JC

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Having had time to look in the books (the builders are in - with vacuum cleaner en chamade!), I learned something new. It is Queen's College, Oxford but Queens' College, Cambridge. I am delighted to note that NPOR has it absolutely correct. You will now be pleased to hear that I have put my pedant's hat away for the weekend. :D

JC

 

Actually it is even more complicated than that B)

 

The full name of Queens' College, Cambridge is actually:

 

"The Queen's College of St Margaret and St Bernard, commonly called Queens' College, in the University of Cambridge."

 

Which, as the college web site explains, contains both spellings, each of which is correct in its particular context ...

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I find it terribly amusing that this is the most controversy I have caused on this site to date!

 

I consider it is probably a smokescreen to divert attention from something else.

 

:D

What a fantastic sound - just like the chamades at the Minster....

 

 

B)

 

I shall endeavour to load my clips later - I have to go out to teach again, shortly.*

 

 

 

* David, you may need to host them, although I am sure that you would be delighted so to do.

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Actually it is even more complicated than that :D

 

The full name of Queens' College, Cambridge is actually:

 

"The Queen's College of St Margaret and St Bernard, commonly called Queens' College, in the University of Cambridge."

 

Which, as the college web site explains, contains both spellings, each of which is correct in its particular context ...

Thank you for the link, Michael. It's more complicated and interesting than I had realised.

JC

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And there's St Thomas Church, New York with no punctuation marks at all!

 

AJJ

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Martin Baker (Westminster Cathedral) is giving a recital on 6th June at St Peter's, Roath, Cardiff at 7.30pm; music includes Bach Beethoven and Borodin. £8.00 with £5.00 concessions. Yours truly will not be there alas as I am playing in Exeter for a friend's 25th anniversary of his ordination.

 

Peter

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