Ask Me a Question

If you have a writing, grammar, style or punctuation question, send an e-mail message to curiouscase at sign hotmail dot com.

Add Your Own Criminal Sentence!

If you find a particularly terrible sentence somewhere, post it for all to see (go here and put it in the Comments section).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Poll Results 40

Here was the question:

What's wrong with this? "The city's too laid back for Type As like me."

Unneeded apostrophe 3 (3%)
Missing apostrophe 43 (56%)
Faulty comparison 4 (5%)
Incorrect capitalization 26 (34%)

I was looking for the missing apostrophe in Type A's. Otherwise, it looks like As. As for the capitalization of Type A, my dictionary says it can be type A or Type A.


Yvonne Perry said...

It does look like As (as) without the apostrophe, but wouldn't the apostrophe make it possessive?

CMOS 7.64 and 7.65 says that capital letters do not normally require an apostrophe in the plural. Since the word "normally" appears in this entry, I assume there must be a rule for exceptions--although I couldn't find it mentioned in Chicago. Is the scholastic grade A the only letter that should have the apostrophe? What about letters B, C, D, etc.?

The Sentence Sleuth said...

Hi, Yvonne. I too couldn't find a specific instruction in CMOS, but other books I have talk about it; e.g., Grammatically Correct, p. 198: "Most authorities agree that the plural of a numeral or a single letter should take an apostrophe if it is likely to be misread without one." It gives examples like 1's (to avoid Is), and Oakland A's (to avoid As).

Yvonne Perry said...

Thanks for the clarification, Bonnie.