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Hello. :-)

Today I wrote an email referring to paragraphs in a journalist's article, and was corrected for my use of abbreviation combined with apostrophes. I believe I was correct in my usage, but I'd like to ask on here.

The context of the usage in the original email was:

"the journalist wrote xyz, and then 2 paras later wrote something else".

I've been told that I should have written "then 2 para's later" (which I think is incorrect). So, my questions:

1. Is 'para' an acceptable abbreviation of 'paragraph'?
2. Assuming the above is true, would the plural of a para be paras, or para's?

Thanks. :-)
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Hi Webreaper,

Welcome to the forum.

Today I wrote an email referring to paragraphs in a journalist's article, and was corrected for my use of abbreviation combined with apostrophes. My goodness, who is correcting your email? The reason I ask is this. Email is a very informal medium. eg Some people write 'u' instead of 'you', or things like 'LOL' which they would seldom (I hope!) write outside email. It seems a little unusual to correct people's spelling, grammar, etc. in emails.

The context of the usage in the original email was:

"the journalist wrote xyz, and then 2 paras later wrote something else".

I've been told that I should have written "then 2 para's later" (which I think is incorrect). So, my questions:

1. Is 'para' an acceptable abbreviation of 'paragraph'? Yes, in my opinion.
2. Assuming the above is true, would the plural of a para be paras, or para's?
I'd write 'paras'

Best wishes, Clive
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Personally I'd use paras as well.
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Comments  


Not to skew things any further, but I think it's important that the context in which it has been applied is relevant.

"Apple's latest operating system can be installed on any x86 hardware."

And then 2 paras later:

"Mac OS X will not be available on any old x86 PC, though, as Apple wants to retain control over its hardware platform"

The discussion centres around the omission of an apostrophe where there ought to be one, in an uncommon abbreviation which could mean several things, at the same time as making the 'whole' word plural by adding an 's' while dropping the apostrophe. The rules appear to be in conflict?
 Clive's reply was promoted to an answer.
My goodness, who is correcting your email?
Actually, it's the person (anon) who posted just after my original post (hence they were able to quote my original email). :-)

We're both members of a mailing list largely made up of argumentative pedantic sods (myself included) who regularly berate each other about their use of the English language. In this particular case, though, there doesn't seem to be any consensus (or conclusive evidence) proving that either party is correct. Obviously, I'm 100% certain that I'm right, and the other chap is 100% certain that he's right.

Normally we'd just resolve such a disagreement by arguing the toss endlessly until one of the debaters got bored or stormed off in a huff, but on this particular occasion I'm actually intrigued to know the 'correct' answer (if one exists), so thought I'd ask on an English forum for clarity..... :-)

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 nona the brit's reply was promoted to an answer.