More and more often, apostrophes are being used incorrectly to form the
plurals of words, abbreviations, and acronyms.
They're sprouting up
everywhere—from billboards and brochure copy to restaurant menus and TV
weather maps. The rapscallions? Errant apostrophes.
An apostrophe is a punctuation
mark used to indicate the possessive case ("the executive's salary"),
contractions ("it's," "won't"), the omission of letters or figures ("a
ne'er-do-well," "the roaring '20s"), or the plurals of single
("mind your p's and q's," "she earned straight A's").
But more and more often,
apostrophes are being used incorrectly to form the plurals of words,
and particularly the plurals of abbreviations and acronyms such as
"CEOs" and "GIs."
So, let's review: Amazon.com does
not sells DVD's; it sells DVDs—no apostrophe. The
temperature is not in
the 80's; it's in the 80s—no apostrophe. And people do
cash from ATM's; they withdraw cash from ATMs—no
Sources: Arianna Huffington,
"America's apostrophe catastrophe," Salon.com, December 17, 2002.
Richard Lederer and Richard Dowis, Sleeping Dogs Don't Lay, St.
Martin's Griffin, 1999, p. 156.