In the phrase, "do's and don't's, " what is the proper use of the apostrophes used to pluralize these words? For example, it may be written in an article as "The do's and don't's of successful gardening." I have seen it written as "dos and don'ts," "do's and don'ts," etc. What is proper for this phrase?
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There is no answer that will not raise a storm of protest from some quarter, Guest. Some say that apostrophes should NEVER be used for plurals, hence: "dos and don'ts". I personally do not like that 'dos', which looks like computer software, and would be happy to settle for the mongrel solution, "do's and don'ts". Purists from both sides would decry that, however, and some would opt for the more consistent "do's and don't's"-- which I don't like because of the plethora of apostrophes in the latter word.

Good luck in all your endeavors.
From Brad Brown. 3:43:16 PM - Saturday, June 30, 2007

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How would I use the apostrophe for this: Ross' Handyman or Ross's Handyman
I would write Ross's
It should be Ross' Handyman
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AnonymousIt should be Ross' Handyman

"should be"?

There is no universal agreement on this. But since most people would say "Rossiz" the extra s after the ' makes sense to me.
According to the Gregg Reference Manual: "To form the possessive of a singular noun that ends in an s sound, be guided by the way you pronounce the word. If a new syllable is formed in the pronunciation of the possessive, add an apostrophe plus s."

Ex: your boss's approval (you pronounce it as bosses); therefore, add the apostrophe.

Also according to the Gregg Reference Manual: "However, if the addition of the extra syllable would make a word ending in s hard to pronounce, use the apostrophe only."

Ex: Los Angeles' freeways (try saying Los Angeleses). Difficult to do; therefore, just use the apostrophe.

Best grammar books are The Gregg Reference Manual and the Simon & Schuster Handbook for Writers.

I have no problem with boss' approval. At least this is a rule where one can understand why people get it wrong. There are grammar errors that bother me more; I cannot understand why people misuse apostrophes.

I'm an author and dislike the everchanging rules of grammar as much as anyone else does. Grammar was invented to facilitate communication, especially written communication when voice inflection cannot be heard. However, I write serious novels, as opposed to trashy stories, and my readers don't care about grammar rules (for the most part) when abiding by them makes reading difficult or awkward. The last thing I want to do in the middle of an engaging paragraph is jolt my readers from the mood I've (hopefully) lured them into just to satisfy some arbitrary grammar rule.

I wouldn't consider writing do's and don't's or dos and don'ts. I write do's and don'ts and that's that, so to speak. I've never had a single complaint about my use of grammar, let alone a book returned yet. I have, on the other hand, had requests to refrain
from using 'Words I have to look up,' such as jejune, abstruse, evanescent, recondite, and so on. I guess education ain't what it used to be, LOL! Consistency is mandatory in whatever one chooses to write and that's tough when one is writing a seven-novel saga!

Blessings to you all - J.
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