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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

i’s vs “i”s

I’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.

I’ve dotted the “i”s and crossed the “t”s.

Which of the foregoing examples is correct?

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Comments

The first one...I hope :-)

osghaemm Feb-15-2011

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The second - see http://apostrophe.me

Anonymous_Coward Feb-15-2011

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I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that site had died. It's http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apostrophe

Anonymous_Coward Feb-15-2011

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To "Anonymous coward": you said that the second one is correct, but the link you posted says both are correct!!

porsche Feb-15-2011

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The first example is correct. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage prefers it, using the example of "mind your p's and q's."

An apostrophe is not used when making a word plural, and, increasingly, also not used when making a number plural. But in the case of an individual letter the apostrophe is still required, particularly when its absence would cause confusion. In this case, "is" is a word, so the absence of an apostrophe could give momentary misdirection to the reader.

The site referenced by Anonymous coward says that both are correct, as porsche notes. But if not wrong—and it is—the double quotation mark construction is, at the very least, inelegant.

douglas.r.bryant Feb-16-2011

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The first is correct but only if the letters are lowercase. If they are uppercase, then it should say Is and Ts. The quotation marks are unnecessary.

Source: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/

Ivy1 Feb-16-2011

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I agree; what is the point of the quotation marks. (Rhetorical question so no question mark) (Incomplete sentence so no period)

fmerton Feb-16-2011

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I prefer the first one. It's the one I was taught, and the second one looks noisy and hard to read, to me. I agree that there may not be a hard-and-fast rule on this, however.

scyllacat Feb-16-2011

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In response to Ivy, with respect: if the letters are uppercase, then "dotting the i" has no meaning; neither does crossing the upper-case "t" have any. No dot in the first instance, no crossing in the second.

douglas.r.bryant Feb-17-2011

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The apostrophes look better than the quotation marks. In response to Ivy: notice that if you pluralize a capital I at the beginning of a sentence, it looks like the word "is".

Claudia1 Feb-19-2011

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@Douglas, yeah I know but I'm not talking about the meaning of the sentence but the usage of apostrophes for capital letters vs lowercase letters.

Ivy1 Feb-21-2011

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This has been discussed in some detail already. See:

http://painintheenglish.com/?p=1521

and

http://painintheenglish.com/?p=1600

Also, mentioned in passing in quite a few posts on this site.

porsche Feb-21-2011

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