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I came across a phrase "all A's." I understand the meaning of the phrase ( all grades are excellent, right?). I wonder if the word 'grades' is omitted after A's. Am I correct? Please help me.
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Hi Yoshi,

is, I'd say, most often left out in situations like this.

I got an A.

I got an A grade. ??

He gets A's all the time.

He gets A grades all the time. ??
Hi just the truth,

I'm still not sure if 's is poseessive or a plural form.
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It's a plural, Yoshi.

All his grades are A's.
If it is a plural, I think an apostrophe is unnecessary.
Some would argue that, Yoshi, but I don't agree.

Google didn't much like my search for "Oakland As".

It's first remark was, "'As' is a very common word and was not included in your search."

Then it asked me, "Did you mean: Oakland A's?".

English follows these conventions not just to follow these conventions.
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Hi Yoshi,
He got all A's.


The word A's functions as a plural noun. If we add the noun "grades", the result is ungrammatical:

*He got all A's grades. (ungrammatical)

There are two problems with the above sentence:

1) if A's is a noun, then there should be a conjunction joining it and the other plural noun (A's is a plural noun and grades is a plural noun.)

2) If A's is an adjective, it shouldn't carry inflection. The letter "s" represent inflection. Only nouns inflect. Adjectives never inflect. Now, if we delete the infection marker, the sentence is fine:

He got all A grades. (grammatical; adjective + noun)

The phrase "A grades" functions as a noun. It's made up of the adjective "A" and the noun "grades". The adjective "A" modifies the noun, telling us what kind of grades.

In short, "He got all A's" is grammatical. "A's" is a plural noun.

As for the apostrophe -s, the -s represent plural number (i.e., "A's" means, more than one A), and the apostrophe is added for clarity. It doesn't express possession. Watch what happens when we omit the apostrophe:

A's => As

The word "As" is ambiguous; it has more than one meaning:

As much as I want all As, I probably won't get as many as I hope.

The words in bold and the underlined word carry different meanings. So you see, apostrophe -s is added to some plural nouns, like "A's", to clear up ambiguity.

Closing Note, "A's" is not ambiguous in "He got all A's", but an apostrophe is required nonetheless for the sake of consistency. Use either the noun "As" or the noun "A's", not both.

All the best,
Casi,

I just want to say thank you for this perfect explanation. The world makes a little more sense to me now. 😄
I'm sure that Casi would be glad to see this note of thanks, but she hasn't participated in our forum for more than ten years. (Note the dates of the posts.)

CJ
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