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Re: [vox] [OT] ISO's vs ISOs
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Re: [vox] [OT] ISO's vs ISOs

Quoting Peter Jay Salzman (p@dirac.org):

> i think using the apostrophe to mark the end of the acronym makes total
> sense.  to use jim's example, but with nicole's way of writing it:
>    Mind your Ps and Qs.
> what exactly should i be minding?  should i be minding a "P" or should i
> be minding a "Ps"?  nicole's method doesn't say; it's ambiguous.  the
> apostrophe isn't just syntactic sugar.  it serves a purpose.

As editor, I always stripped those apostrophes, considering them to 
create the spurious impression of either possession or a contraction -- 
and _not_ being necessary to clarity.  That is, _given_ the lack of an
apostrophe, context makes it seem (to the reader) extremely probable
that the letter s is there to indicate plurals.  

Rule of thumb:  You're aiming to make as few readers as possible need to
pause and back up, in order to parse the sentence correctly.  Written 
sentences use punctuation largely in order to make up for the absence
of tone, rhythm, and other types of vocal emphasis, that in spoken
language serve to disambiguate.

You can't prevent _every_ reader from stumbling over sentence
punctuation all the time, because people's minds think differently. 
But you can try. 

I don't know how I'd advise a reader to mind the singular-noun entity
"Ps" and its singular-noun cousin "Qs".  Maybe _that_ way.  But it seems
appropriate that the more-common sentence is easier to format clearly.

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