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



On Mon, 22 Jul 2002, Micah Cowan wrote:

> Peter Jay Salzman writes:
>  > begin Henry House <hajhouse@houseag.com> 
>  > > On Sun, Jul 21, 2002 at 11:08:52PM -0700, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
>  > > > consider the following two sentences:
>  > > > 
>  > > >    A) Getting Debian ISO's has always been a painful experience.
>  > > >    B) Getting Debian ISOs has always been a painful experience.
>  > > > 
>  > > > sentence B seems more correct, but to my eyes, sentence A looks more
>  > > > pleasing; it just looks better with the apostrophe.
>  > > 
>  > > A is a deplorable modern degeneration. B is the correct choice according to
>  > > one style guide, and my personal preference as well. The reader can tell that
>  > > the ess is not part of the acronym by its small case.
>  >  
>  > not good enough.  there are acronyms that use both upper and lower case.
>  > particularly, medical acronyms for chemical names use both upper and
>  > lower case.
>  > 
>  > not all acronyms use all uppercase.  what would you do to make the
>  > sentence unambiguous in that case?

So you would like to write "A bunch of Heliums" as "A bunch of He's" and
suggest that this is somehow clear? Assuming a sentence could be
constructed in which a plural of such an abbreviation made sense, I can't
imagine how adding an apostrophe will make it clearer, given the rules of
English.

> Most of the time (in the case of software naming conventions), those
> acronyms aren't true acronyms, but are a bastardization of the process
> ("borrowing" letters which are not initials). But there's not much to
> do about that.
>
> Your specific example, though, is a clear reason to use apostrophes,
> at least in those situations. Unless there's another way to
> typographically disambiguate them.

I disagree that it is a clear reason to use apostrophes. It is a clear
reason to reconstruct your sentence to be more clear, most likely by
removing abbreviations.

---

Here is a reference for the use of apostrophes in technical communication,
though I don't know that it carries any particular weight for anyone here.

http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~cs5014/fall.95/courseNotes/WebPages/5.TechnicalCommunication/tc_2_Usage.html#5.1

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