4

I own lots of DVD's.

I own lots of DVDs

I own lots of DVD.

How to properly indicate the plural regarding acronyms in English?

  • Probably means own – Jim Mar 24 '15 at 14:42
  • 2
    I own lots of DVDs. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Mar 24 '15 at 14:54
  • From ELU: english.stackexchange.com/questions/503/… – Catija Mar 24 '15 at 15:14
  • 1
    As long as you don't use periods between the letters, you do not use an apostrophe. – Catija Mar 24 '15 at 15:17
  • 1
    You only need an apostrophe if you want to indicate possession. Or if you want to pluralize something like the name of a letter: It's spelled with two l's. As far as I know, you still just add an s to initialisms that are written with periods: There is only one U.K. and there could never be two U.K.s. – Jim Reynolds Mar 24 '15 at 16:18
7

This issue has been addressed several times on ELU, including Plurals of acronyms, letters, numbers — use an apostrophe or not? , and What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym?

The bottom line is it's largely a matter of stylistic preference whether to include an apostrophe or not in OP's exact context. To some extent, the average preference varies over time, and currently most style guides advise against it except where comprehension would be seriously compromised by its absence. Thus...

  • I own lots of DVDs (generally preferred, even with the uncapitalised form dvds)

  • I know lots of bi's (= bisexuals, usually apostrophized purely for comprehension)

  • Mind your p's and q's (almost always apostrophized today for legibility)


OP's third alternative (I own lots of DVD) would never be acceptable, because dvd (whether capitalized or not) isn't a "mass noun". This is a matter of "real" (spoken) language, whereas the apostrophe is just a matter of orthography (a written form attempting to represent speech).

| improve this answer | |
5

I own lots of DVDs.

DVD is an initialism, not an acronym. See here.

| improve this answer | |
1

How to properly indicate the plural regarding acronyms in English?

It's simple. Think about the full form and you'll have a clue!

We call Managing Director MD in short, don't we?

Now think of a sentence.

There are five Managing Directors

Do you see an apostrophe 's? ~ No, you don't. That's it...write it the same way with acronym

There are five Managing Directors
There are five M-----------D--------s (no apostrophe) = MDs

Now think of another example:

I'm talking about the Managing Directors' cars (say, there are 5 managing directors)
I'm talking about the M-----------D--------s' cars (with apostrophe) = MDs' cars

Now for a singular use:

I'm talking about the Managing Director's cars (say, there is only 1 managing director)
I'm talking about the M-----------D--------'s cars (with apostrophe) = MD's car

Hope this helps.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.