LINGUIST List 8.859

Tue Jun 10 1997

Disc: Punctuation

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. John Phillips, Re: 8.836, Disc: Punctuation

Message 1: Re: 8.836, Disc: Punctuation

Date: Mon, 9 Jun 1997 15:37:59 +0900
From: John Phillips <>
Subject: Re: 8.836, Disc: Punctuation

There have been several postings recently decrying the use of
apostrophe-s to make an English plural form, e.g. "dyslexic's",
"sonata's". On what grounds is this held to be bad English? Like
everyone else, I learnt at school that the apostrophe was not to be
used in English plurals except for a few exceptional cases like
numerals and letters ("the 1990's", "three A's"). This last usage seems
to have gone out of fashion recently, but apostrophes are in practice
widely used in all sorts of plural forms, and they seem to have a long
history of use at least in foreign or unusual words - I've noticed
apostrophised plurals in facsimiles of several seventeenth century
books recently. Exactly what are the grounds for condemning this usage?

John Phillips
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue