Friday, September 28, 2012

Apostrophes in plurals

There is a simple riposte that all grammarians are familiar with hearing. It goes something like this: "The rules are too complicated and who gives a stuff anyway? People know what I mean."

Boots: remarkably thick, even by cat standards
True, and I know what my cat means when he follows me into the kitchen and wraps his tail around my leg. He wants feeding. In fact, almost every attempt by my cat to engage my attention can be translated as "Feed me". 

So "They know what I mean" is only a valid argument if you aspire to no higher level of communication than my cat, who is remarkably stupid even by cat standards.

When it comes to apostrophes in plurals, those who say the rules are too complicated seem to have devised a rule of their own that is almost infinitely more convoluted than the real rule. As far as I can gather, it goes something like this:
No apostrophes in plurals, unless it's a foreign word, an abbreviation, an acronym, a word I don't know how to spell, a word that ends in a vowel that isn't 'e' or word that is in any way a bit funny or unusual
Poor me. I'm going to stick with the super-intellectual rule laid down by those Grammar Nazis (or is that Nazi's?)
No apostrophes in plurals
Admittedly, that's a simplified version. The full, long form is as follows:
No apostrophes in plurals. Ever
That includes abbreviations, which is much easier now that dots are considered fussy. Sorry if that's too complicated. Leave your WTF?s in the comments section.

Moral: The simpler the rule, the easier it is to devise something far more confusing