Public service announcement.

Adding an “s” to something makes it plural. Just the “s”. By itself. Sometimes an “es” is appropriate, as when the noun in question ends with an “s”. Vowels (and the letter “y”) at the end of words get their own special treatment, and some words even have special pluralizations. Like Mice. And Wolves.

Adding an “‘s” to something makes it posessive. Except in the case of “it’s” (which is a contraction of “it is”,) it always makes it posessive. “‘s” cannot make a noun plural.

PPCs is plural. PPC’s is posessive.

Got it?

Sorry. That’s just been annoying me for a while lately and I figured it would make me feel better if I posted it somewhere public.

In other news — movement. I’m coming down to the end of the Quarter/Semester, which is making me really nervous as I’m not doing as well this time as I have in the past.

Bill Stave (the obnoxious, malodorous smoker — normally I’d think that was redundant, but this case was special– who had been sharing my house) has finally moved out. The room he was in has even stopped stinking as much, since it took me so long to post this news.

Alison’s mother got a new smoker-boyfriend to replace the one who had apparently actually quit. I really don’t understand this. If statistics are to be believed, some 80% of her potential choices in boyfriends don’t smoke. What are the odds of two smokers in a row out of a random assortment?

As a consequence of having a new Smoker to bring around, Peggy apparently decided to try to prove to Alison that she didn’t have a problem again, as seems to be becoming her new Holiday tradition. This happened to coincide with Alison picking up a case of strep and an apparent worsening of her condition (she now has trouble with smoke from a fireplace…)

Anyway, Alison has moved in with my mother for the short-term while we try to get our house ready for her. I’m working on getting her medical help too. She’s been able to get up in the afternoons now that she can actually sleep at night (on account of not having to deal with her sister and HER boyfriends.)

6 thoughts on “Public service announcement.

  1. Neko_Bijin

    I had a hunch you were wrong so I looked it up. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (1958) has this on p. 1153: “The apostrophe is commonly used before s in the plurals of exclamations, imperatives, conjunctions, adverbs, numbers, and abbreviations used substantively but may be omitted as long as no ambiguity is likely to result.” (original emphasis) Then it lists some examples of correct usage: “The yes’s (better yeses) equal to the no’s (better noes); the dos and don’ts of poultry raising; heavy with ifs and buts; told of whys and hows; arranged in twos and threes; a battery of 88s (or 88’s); IOUs (or I.O.U’s); a guard of MPs (or M.P.’s).” While PPCs isn’t wrong, PPC’s used to mean plural and not possessive is certainly correct. Mind your p’s and q’s when making such pronouncements, eh?

  2. BobRichter

    “is commonly used” isn’t the same as “is correct.”

    PPC’s used as a plural is at best ambiguous since that is certainly the posessive form.

    i.e. “The PPC’s capacitor.”

    using PPCs is more correct and removes any ambiguity.

    What’s really hillarious is “may be omitted as long as no ambiguity is likely to result.”

    PPCs is unambiguous. PPC’s is ambiguous.

    In general, “omitting” the apostrophe is never likely to cause ambiguity, but “retaining” (or adding) it will certainly create an ambiguity with the posessive form of a nounal abbreviation.

    Still, I picked a bad example.

    Texas’s is posessive.
    Texases is plural.


  3. mame_snidely

    Why would he mind his ps and qs (pints and quarts, IE his own business) when posting? Seems like posting inherently creates conflict with that recomendation.

    Second, Bob, let me know if and what help I can give to you or the house in order to do the good friend thing? 

  4. BobRichter

    I don’t recall claiming to be an expert, but this is how I was taught. In point of fact, the experts differ on the case of acronyms, but not on the case of normal nouns.


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