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Like any stickler for punctuation I gringe when I see the apostrophy used when term should be plural, not possessive. I ran into a problem today though. How do I represent a letter grade as being plural. For instance:

"I received mostly A's and B's in English class."
"I received mostly As and Bs in English class."

Maybe I should just say "I made good grades."
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It depends on the style manual you are following.
The more conservative use is "A's and B's". The apostrophe does not show possession in this case.
More recently I've seen "As and Bs" recommended.

Go figure! Emotion: smile
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Like any stickler for punctuation AND grammar, and being English also, I cringe when I see the word 'apostrophe' spelled with a 'y' at the end.

I also cringe when I see an apostrophe used with a plural noun, even if the noun is a single letter (A, B, C, etc.).

In England, a plural noun NEVER takes an apostrophe, so it would be As, Bs and Cs in the UK.
By the way -- it's "cringe," not "gringe." (Although I like "gringe" for a grin that turns into a cringe.)
Technically speaking, an apostrophe always shows possession. That's its grammatical function. Thus, technically, A's is incorrect and As is correct. However, it's a little ambiguous.

Also note that in the phrase As and Bs, the quotation marks would go around each separate letter grade: "As" and "Bs" not "As and Bs."

I came online searching for an answer to this same question but I think I've received it just by talking about it. Because it looks ambiguous and could be confusing to use "As," I'm going with "A's" even though technically it's incorrect.
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From the following website:
http://www.buffalostate.edu/collegerelations/x572.xml#grades

"grades, letter—Capitalize; do not italicize or use quotation marks. Form the plural with 's: He was sure he'd get straight A's and was shocked when he saw three B's and a C. Students must maintain a B average."
That's an American website so they may have differing grammatical rules to proper English. They also might be incorrect. I always used As and Bs as awkward as it looks, but I was reading Ian McEwan's Amsterdam earlier and he mentions A grades with an apostrophe so it lead to some confusion. Again, he or his editor could be wrong, but you'd think from a novelist of McEwan's calibre and from a booker-award winning novel it would have perfect grammar. I'd love to get a proper answer to this.
Hi,

I think this is one of those matters where there is no really, really good formal solution.
Here's my view.

Tom often gives his students As. Without or with an apostrophe, I consider this rather informal.

Tom often gives his students 'A' grades. If I wanted to write very carefully, I'd word my sentence to avoid the problem, eg like this.

Clive
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Anonymousyou'd think from a novelist of McEwan's calibre and from a booker-award winning novel it would have perfect grammar.
Good novelists don't necessarily follow the rules of prescriptive grammarians.
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