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November 28, 2011
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Sorry, I was mistaken. Speedwell2's examples, posted above on June 17, 2004, 12:35pm, are correct. I confused "acronyms" with "abbreviations."
Don't use an apostrophe for plural abbreviations that are more than 1 letter, whether in the UK or the USA (or anywhere else), unless the abbreviation has its own punctuation.
Examples:We met 3 VIPs this year.We hooded 12 Ph.D.'s at the most recent commencement ceremony.I handed out IOUs to everyone at the race.
If the abbreviation is really an acronym, however, then you should only add a lowercase s to form the plural:
If we had more UNICEFs in the world, we might have less hunger.
What makes it an acronym? I think it's this: if one pronounces the letters, one after another, when it's spoken aloud, then it's an abbreviation. Example: we say, "In the UK" but it *sounds like* "in the you kay" because we are pronouncing each letter.
If one pronounces the acronym as if it were a word, then it's an acronym. Example: we say, "Four KARTS and thirteen NASCARs after his first race, Hollis McGumby was the winningest driver in the nation." Another example: If we had two NASDAQs, things would be different."
It's never correct to use an apostrophe for plural acronyms, whether in the UK or the USA (or anywhere else).
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