The Use of " 's " after Abbreviations, #s and Symbols

~Josh~   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 03:53 GMT
..........I see words like CD's, ID's, $100's, 2000's and #'s everyday, whether it be in an ad or in a composition. I've never gotten this concept. And, with the exception of decades (i.e.: 1970's), they look wrong to me. Especially seeing that " 's " in English is strictly reserved for pluralizing, with the exception of "is" as in "who's or it's.

..........What I was wondering is where did this concept come from and when did it come about? And whether CDs, IDs, $100s, #s, etc. is more acceptable than the examples above.
CalifJim   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 07:01 GMT
<<Especially seeing that " 's " in English is strictly reserved for pluralizing>>

I think you may be unwittingly contradicting yourself.
If " 's" is reserved for pluralizing, you should be comfortable with CD's as a plural.

You may have meant to say "... seeing that " 's" is used for creating the possessive forms ... ".

The trend lately seems to be toward CDs, etc., but I learned it as CD's, etc., so I'm not sure myself what standard is currently emerging. The more conservative use is definitely CD's. Maybe others will clarify for us.

Sorry, I don't know when it all started.
Random Chappie   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 08:48 GMT
According to the British government's official style and syntax guidelines (which I read on the Surrey County Council's website), apostrophes should not be inserted into abbreviated plurals. However, such guidelines are rarely followed by the majority of the population for obvioius reasons, which are more than obvious in the following extracts from the Surrey website...

A ridiculously pedantic guideline:
"Spell out in letters the numbers one to nine. After that it's 10, 11, 12 up to 999,999. The exception to this is: "one to fifty".
Millions: use m and decimals: 1m, 1.5m, 20m
Billions: Use bn and decimals: 1bn, 1.5bn, 20bn
Decimals: always use decimals and never fractions. If necessary, round to two decimal places: 1.99
Ordinal numbers: first, second, third, etc, to ninth, then 10th, 11th etc
Percentages: use figures: 10%
However, if you start a sentence with a number always spell it out eg 'Thirty years ago.' "

And one that not even the BBC follows:
"All organisations are single. The Government, Surrey County Council, an Area Committee, a Select Committee are all single eg "The Government has decided to raise taxes."

So, in short, feel free to indulge in your personal quirks so long as they do not clash with proper grammar or readability.
Mxsmanic   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 14:12 GMT
These guidelines seem perfectly reasonable to me. Indeed, typesetters have been following most of them for ages. Most of them are dictated by aesthetics rather than grammar, e.g., it looks really stupid to start a sentence with a number set in figures.
Sanja   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 17:21 GMT
I'm sick and tired of seeing misused apostrophes in so many web pages etc., even in serious pages and advertisements. Some people put apostrophes wherever they see an S at the end of a word : In plurals, even in verbs (like "take's" instead of "takes") etc. But I've seen "it's" instead of "its" , "your's" instead of "yours" and "who's" instead of "whose" (possessive pronouns) even in the movies and TV shows, which really sucks. Once I was watching an Australian TV show and there was a Japanese guy who said something in Japanese and they wrote translation in English and put "it's" instead of "its". And I see it happens all the time.
Sanja   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 17:31 GMT
Oh, and when i was applying for something online I was asked to type my friends' e-mail addresses and it said "your friend's e-mail addresses". A lot of people don't know that rule: if something belongs to more than one friend, then the possessive form should be "friends' ".
mjd   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 17:41 GMT
Maybe it was referring to the numerous e-mail addresses of one of your friends...then again, probably not.
Sanja   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 18:00 GMT
I'm pretty sure it wasn't.
Ed   Sunday, August 22, 2004, 19:32 GMT
People don't know the difference between plural and posessive. I've seen the following sentence : "The two guy's were sitting on the couch" LOL
Sanja   Monday, August 23, 2004, 15:56 GMT
I've seen even worse...LOL :) By the way, I heard that you shouldn't use apstrophes in decades either (ie 1970s), it should be 1970s or in short