use of "s" in acronyms (plural)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Amda Zako, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. Amda Zako Senior Member

    France / French
    Hello all,

    If I'm writing for instance about personal assistants, should I write PAs with an S at the end?

    And what if the acronym is already plural, as in NICT (New Information and Communication Technologies)?

    Answers much appreciated...
     
  2. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    Yes, you add s at the end of an acronym (or initialism) to make plural. If you do not use periods between the letters it isn't necessary to have an apostrophe (probably preferable not to) so we say "I ordered three CDs from Amazon today". If you use periods, then I would recommend an apostrophe (C.D.'s). However, separating acronyms with periods is going out of style.

    Note that the use of apostrophes in plurals is incorrect for normal words, but acceptable (traditional, in fact) with acronyms, however some people frown upon it, and it isn't necessary if you aren't using periods.

    I'm not sure when you would want to make an acronym that is already plural into a further plural. Can you give an example?
     
  3. Amda Zako Senior Member

    France / French
    Thanks, MM, for your detailed explanation

    For instance, with New Information and Communication Technologies:

    Can NICTs (or NICT) make home-working a viable option for translators?
     
  4. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    No, it is already plural. You should consider how it would sound if you wrote it out: "Can New Information and Communication Technologiess make home-working a viable option for translators?" It can't be right can it?

    Note that even when the last word in the acronym would be pluralized by adding "es" rather than "s", acronyms are never pluralized by adding "es", it's always "s".
     
  5. Amda Zako Senior Member

    France / French
    Thank you!
     
  6. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    What then would be the plural of MIPS (million instructions per second)?
     
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    MIPSs
    You can have one million, two millions, three millions....
    Loob
     
  8. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Thanks, Loob.
    I don't even want to think about pronouncing MIPSs! :(
     
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    mipsiz:)

    Loob
     
  10. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    "Million instructions per second" does not change, no matter how many there are, so a plural is not required. One does not say "three millions instructions per second" (and if one did would it not the plural be "3 MsIPS"? :) ) and "three million instructions per seconds" is not right either, so it should be "1 MIPS", "2 MIPS", etc. I dare say some may add "s" to acronyms like this, but it is redundant.
     
  11. TheAmzngTwinWndr

    TheAmzngTwinWndr Senior Member

    California, USA
    United States

    I don't think this would ever be plural because when would you have more than one 'New Information and Communication Technologies'? This is not an object (it sounds like a name of a company) and in order to have more than one of something it must be an object.
     
  12. Amda Zako Senior Member

    France / French
    It's not a company, it's the Internet, modems, software, etc., all the stuff that enables the "information society"... NICT is always plural.
     
  13. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Matching Mole's right. I don't know what I was thinking of:eek:

    Loob
     
  14. Nat in the Hat New Member

    American English

    Then what would you do about the plural of the acronym UPS? UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply. If I had to talk about two of them, "The those UPSs were put in years ago." Would that be correct? Would the same rules about es (such as following the plural of drinking glass, glasses) apply, UPSes.

    Now for the really fun part. Possessive. is it just UPS'? or UPS's?

    Or (as happens with me in my job too often), possessive plural of this very acronym. UPSes'? "In this region, we keep all of or UPSes' manuals in this file cabinet." Or is is UPS'? Or UPSs'?

    My guesses are:
    Plural
    UPSes
    Possessive
    UPS'
    Plural Possessive
    UPSes'
     

Share This Page