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Mind your p's and q's.
Cross your t's and dot your i's.
I just want to make sure if I am right in the following:
There are two s'es in the sentence.
There are two PSes in the meeting. (PS is a short form of something.)
Am I correct?
There are two PSes in the meeting. ( It should be PS's.)
May I ask why you think it should be s's and PS's?
For the second one, style guides I read do not recommend using apostrophe for plurals of abbreviations although some people do use them.
PterHi Yoong Liat,What I've found surprises me. It seems that I was taught wrongly.
P.SS. or p.ss abbr Definition: postscriptsDictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
P.SS. postscripts.Also, p.ss.
Resultspss was found in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary at the entries listed below.· postscript · PS
Regarding the apostrophe for abbreviations, let me quote some of the references I've read:
The Columbia Guide to Standard American English
usually add -s: two Xs, Ph.D.s, MIAs, 1990s, the ’20s. Use an apostrophe only when you need it to prevent confusion: Mississippi has four i’s. He got A’s in both courses.
The Economist Style Guide
Thus IOUs, MPs' salaries, SDRs, etc.
Times Online Style Guide
An apostrophe should be used to indicate the plural of single letters - p's and q's.
(Note that it doesn't say an apostrophe should be used for plurals of abbreviations.)
Guide to Grammar and Style by Jack Lynch
Apostrophes are sometimes used to make acronyms or other abbreviations plural (another matter of a local house style). My preference: don't use apostrophes to make abbreviations plural — not "They took their SAT's," but "They took their SATs." The only exception is when having no apostrophe might be confusing: "Two As" is ambiguous (it might be read as the word as); make it "Two A's."
Back to my original question. What I would like to ask is whether I should use "s" or "es", i.e. the choice of
1a. There are two s'es in the sentence.
1b. There are two PSes in the meeting.
2a. There are two s's in the sentence.
2b. There are two PSs in the meeting.
In addition, how should they be pronounced?
PS I have never seen P.SS. or p.ss. My copy of Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary does not have such an entry nor does any other dictionary I checked.
PterSorry Yoong Liat, I think I didn't made it clear. The abbreviation of PS was made up arbitrarily. I didn't mean postscript. I could have used anything like BS, CS, DS, etc. in my question.
Yoong Liat2a. There are two s's in the sentence. (The modern tendency is to add -s to pluralise a word. However, the -'s is still common. I would write s's because ss looks odd.)Thanks again, Yoong Liat. I think this is not a matter of right or wrong, but just a matter of style. Many people still use the apostrophe. In fact, if the abbreviation has to be in lower case (I can't think of such a situation yet), I would also use the apostrophe. Therefore, I would write MPs, but mp's. I won't write mps because the s could be confused as part of the abbreviation.
Yoong LiatIn addition, how should they be pronounced? (Pronounce as in 1a and 1b)
Thanks. That's where I am confused. I thought the pronunciation need to match the spelling and therefore "es". Now I know that this is not necessary. I just checked my pronouncing dictionary and surprised to find that it lists all the pronunciations of the plurals of all the 26 alphabets. The plural of s is s's, and the pronunciation is /esiz/. I should have checked that dictionary earlier.
I hope you do not mind. It should be 26 letters. The alphabet consists of 26 letters.
This must be a very common mistake made by Chinese speakers. Perhaps, because there is no such thing as a Chinese alphabet.
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Please feel free to correct any mistakes I've made. I learn something new every time!
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