Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Technical Difficulties

One of the most common errors I've noticed is the placement of an apostrophe before the "s" in a plural abbreviation. For instance, I recently saw a giant sidewalk sign advertising CD's. A reader named Dave sent me a screenshot from a large electronics store chain's web site that is filled with these kinds of errors.

PC Richard & Son advertises flat panel HDTV's and projection TV's on its site. Even worse, they have a contest on their site involving the Yankees!


Anonymous said...

Using an apostrophe to denote plurals of things like "CDs" or "HDTVs" is comparable to using an apostrophe to denote plurals of numbers like "8s" or "9s". In that sense, most grammar and mechanics manuals suggest that including the apostrophe is optional and often even recommended simply to avoid confusion.

For example, A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker, a frequently used style manual, specifically notes that "[t]raditionally, an apostrophe has been used to pluralize numbers, abbreviations, letters, and words mentioned as words. The trend, however, is toward omitting the apostrophe. Either use is correct, but be consistent."

I love this site, and I loathe apostrophe errors I see everywhere. But I don't think this is really one to get bent out of shape about.

Becky said...

You're right. This one isn't as big of a deal as some of the other catastrophes on this site. However, according to the AP Stylebook, one is supposed to add an "s" (no apostrophe) after multiple letters. Example: She knows her ABCs and gets all A's in school.