I used to be convinced that the plural did not take the apostrophe as it was not a possessive but I now see the apostrophe used in many places and am full of doubt. What is the correct usage?

There are road signs showing "H.G.V.'s only". Surely that can't be right?

Would the abbreviation of 'housepoints" be HPs of HP's?

If the apostrophe usage is correct then presumably we would see MP's rather than MPs and if this were the case, something belonging to a number of MPs would be MP's' or even MP's's rather than MPs'

Can someone please put me right and provide a recognized source so that I can go into battle.

Many thanks
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As you say, this is still a bone of contention, but I believe that most authorities adhere to the simple rule of 'no possessive ergo no apostrophe'. At least I do, and would unhesitantingly write:

H.G.V.s only
seven HPs
seven MPs
seven MPs' hats.

Exceptions are usually made for the few cases where confusion is possible, the classic example being 'mind your p's and q's'.

Here is one [url="http://www.apostrophe.fsnet.co.uk/"]SOURCE[/url], and here's [url="http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/g_apost.html "]ANOTHER[/url]. Googling 'apostrophe' will get you several more, with slightly varying opinions, especially re numerals and acronyms.
Mr. M. - what is your preferred way to show the plural of a letter of the alphabet? In "Mississippi" there are four ________, four ___________ and two _________.

S's?? "S"s?? (Surely not Ss.)


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'Four esses, four ayes and two pees.'

'Four s's, four i's and two p's, ' if I had to.
I think we'll have to agree to disagree here - I would never use "esses," unless it was in a Scrabble game, in which case it might come in handy. I would probably write "s"s.
i would say:

mind your 'p's and 'q's (no apostrophes, inverted commas).

on another note, the general rule for apostrophes seems to be (from the links above) that they are not used with possessive pronouns (his, her, my, its), but does this also apply to 'one'? is it ones or one's?

sara + phil
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it is 1990's with an apostrophe
(I would prefer 1990s.)

MrPedantic(I would prefer 1990s.)


So would the AP stylebook.
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