Wednesday, 10 October 2007

A fatuous vulgarism

Fowler's Modern English Usage, 2nd Edn., describes the insertion of an apostrophe in the plural of an noun as "a fatuous vulgarism".

The example given in Fowler of the use of an apostrophe to denote plurality is "dot your i's and cross your t's". However, Fowler sees no use for an apostrophe to avoid confusion in the following examples: "M. P. s, A. D. C. s, N. C. O. s, the 1920s".

Likewise, there would be little alternative than to state there are four s's in sassafras.


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