Acronym Plurals

As a follow-up to yesterday’s tip about apostrophes to be used for possessives and not for plurals, George from the Houston Peanut Gallery asked me to address the plural of acronyms.

“I’ll use blowout preventers as an example. Which is correct when discussing multiple blowout preventers – BOPS, BOP’s or BOPs? I’ve seen them all.”

Good question, George. We’ll do it the way the SPE Style Guide says to do it:

“DO NOT use an apostrophe when forming the plural of figures, letters, years, abbreviations, etc.”

–       the 1920s
–       Do you want your cash in all $20s, or do you want some $5s and $10s?
–       got all As on her report card
–       BHAs and BOPs and ESPs

So mind your Ps and Qs, and only use apostrophes when you want to indicate a possessive.

The US DOE’s latest study is an interesting one.
The ESP’s main drawback is short run times under those conditions.

So the rule is the same for acronyms, initialisms, and full words: use an S for plural, use an ‘S for possessive.

Profound Quote of the Day:

“Wisdom consists not so much in knowing what to do in the ultimate as knowing what to do next.”

– Herbert Hoover, 31st American President (and before that, a professional mining engineer), 1874-1964


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: