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Thread: apostrophe

  1. #1
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    Arrow apostrophe

    I'm confused with the use of apostrophe.I read that it is used to form special plural. The sentence below confuses me.



    " In the shipment of towel, all the his's are blue. All the hers's are red."


    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    Default Re: apostrophe

    .
    Most grammarians (well, this grammarian, anyway) eschew the apostrophe used for anything other than contractions and possessives. We do, however, grudgingly accept its use when there is otherwise visual confusion in reading the text. Examples are:

    his's, hers's, p's and q's, etc.

    We do insist that none should be used with such as ABCs, UFOs and other instances where there is no uncertainty about the function of the s.

    We saw many UFOs, but only one UFO's door opened.
    .

  3. #3
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    Default Re: apostrophe

    hello..thanks for all the answers...however, I actually want to know the meaning of this sentence. Is it like...his bag (blue), his pen ( blue), his towel ( blue ) thus, all the his's are blue? Is this correct? If yes, then "all the my's" is also possible.


    Thanks again! : )

  4. #4
    Philly is offline Senior Member
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    Default his and hers

    .
    No, your sentence refers specifically to things that are intended to be used by a husband (all of those things are his) and the equivalent things that are intended for use by his wife (hers).
    .
    "In the shipment, all the men's towels are blue. All the women's towels are red."
    .

  5. #5
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    Default Re: his and hers

    .
    It does refer specifically to towels (and such things as monogrammed cups)-- it refers even more specifically to towels marked 'His' and 'Hers'-- that is, those words are embroidered (or whatever) on the towels. If this were not the case, we would dismiss the words his's and hers's out of hand as ungrammatical, and the original should properly read as the alternative Philly has suggested:

    In the shipment, all the men's towels are blue. All the women's towels are red.
    .

  6. #6
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: apostrophe

    In English, we try to avoid the type of confusion caused by these types of plurals.

    I might write (if I were reporting dialog), "All the hises were blue and all the herses were red." (This was as hard to write as it is to read.)

    The problem is that neither the apostrophes nor the solution above make the meaning of what you're trying to say clear. I would use MM's suggestion or I'd say:

    All the towels marked "his" are blue, all the ones marked "hers" are red.

    Remember: clarity, clarity, clarity. If the reader can't understand what you're trying to say, it doesn't matter how accurate your grammar is.

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