Am I right that the plural of an acronym gets an apostrophe ess ('s)? (There’s a case of beer involved here so a reference would be appreciated). I am seeing both with and without in the media but I swear I was taught in my copy editing course that acronyms get the apostrophe. “FAQ’s” rather than “FAQs” for example. Perhaps there is a similar rule to the “a/an” rule where you use “an FAQ” if you say “eff ay cue” but “a FAQ” if you say “fack.”

Related issue: Is there a good grammer reference on the web? I looked for Strunk and White but just got an offer to buy the book. BTW, I ordered it, since I can’t find my old one (otherwise I believe I would have settled the argument before it escalated into a bet).


Nope, sorry, you’re wrong. FAQ’s would only be correct if you were talking about something that belonged to FAQ, or if you were making a contraction of “FAQ is”.)

That used to be standard usage, but its changed so that the apostrophe is dropped.

Source anyone?

Well basic grammer rules state 's is in fact used only for possesive statements or contractions involving the word “is”.

However, according to writing style guides (the only one convenients to me right now is my “Franklin Covey Style Guide for Business and Technical Communications” apostrophe s’s can be used to denote the plural form of letters, signs, symbols, figures, acronyms and abbreviations. It also notes that rather than the 's you can also substitue -s.

To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

Webster’s dictionary also supports using the apostrophe to indicate plurals in some instances:

Main Entry: apostrophe

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French, from Late Latin apostrophus, from Greek apostrophos, from apostrophos turned away, from apostrephein

Date: 1727

: a mark ’ used to indicate the omission of letters or figures, the possessive case, or the plural of letters or figures

“The plural of letters or figures” refers to a whole bunch of (sss)s’s, say, or a number of (111)1’s. This does not apply to acronyms per se.

The word “acronym” is not an acronym, anyway, hence the “'s” looks just like any other word made posessive or contractional instead of plural. That is, stupid.

Well as I cited in the technical writing guide, 's can be used on acronyms.

To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

Yes, I was refering to plurals, not acronyms. I was providing another cite for BurnMeUp’s post of: