Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Apostrophes and initialisms

leave a comment »

Underside of a DVD-R disc, modified to have tr...
Image via Wikipedia

Why do people add apostrophes to plural initialisms? You see it everywhere. Here’s a prime example from Easylife’s Catalogue of Household Goods That You’ll Never Buy (it’s not really called that):

…Movie Wizard editing software lets you add titles and music to make professional-looking DVD’s in minutes.

Now – an initialism is a word made up of the first letter of a number of other words. So, ‘DVD’ is made up from ‘digital versatile disc/k’. Initialisms are often capitalised, though not always. The point is – if you want to talk about more than one DVD you just bang an s on the end:

I have three DVDs.

..professional-looking DVDs in minutes.

Brain surgery it ain’t. You don’t need an apostrophe. Not for DVDs, not for any plural initialisms.

BUT – there’s always a but. If you want, for example, to talk about something that belongs to a DVD, your possessive apostrophe comes into play:

The DVD’s cover is torn.

Find out more about the possessive apostrophe



Written by Wordwatch

05/11/2009 at 9:34 am

Your questions and comments are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: