Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998 08:07:54 +0000
From: Peter McGraw
Subject: Re: plural's - a new development?

I wonder if they're trying to mark the voicedness of the plural
morpheme in these environments. In any other context (that I can think
of within about two minutes), the sequences -is, -os and -as would
spell [Is], [)s] and [as] or [[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]s], respectively, rather than [iz], [oZ]
and [az] or [[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]z], as they must be pronounced to indicate pluralization.
In contrast, sequences spelled -es or -Cs would be pronounced the same
whether or not the -s was a plural marker.


On Thu, 18 Jun 1998 08:56:28 -0400 Alan Baragona

> Perhaps writers do this because, subconsciously at least, they are unsure of
> whether the plural should add -s or -es (especially so with final -o) so
> they instinctively "compromise" with an apostrophe.
> At 12:52 AM 6/18/98 -0400, Bryan Gick wrote:
> >While I'm at it...
> >
> >I've been noticing something for the last few months that I can't
> ignore >anymore: Lots of people seem to be using the orthographic
> apostrophe-s >plural only after (orthographic?) vowels! A text will
> typically have lots >and lots of standard -s plurals with one or two
> -'s ones tossed in. So >far, all and only those words ending in a, o
> and i get -'s, and I haven't >found any final u's or syllabic
> (non-silent) e's from people who do this. >
> >Examples - Here's the grand total of -'s plurals I've seen since I
> started >noting them (omitting proper nouns, abbreviations and
> acronyms): >
> >1. In an insect repellent ad
> ( >
> forums/ontbuysell/messages/463.htm): >-'s: mosquito's (x3), patio's
> >-s: bugs, insects, lotions, sprays, humans, animals, waves, decks,
> doors, > wholesalers, distributors.
> > >2. Web page for a renovations company
> ( >-'s: patio's
> >-s: renovations, carports (x2), enclosures (x2), covers, rooms. >
> >3. Local air service webpage >
> ( >-'s: jacuzzi's
> >-s: languages, places, amenities, rooms, pilots, floats, adventures,
> > years, maps, rafts, canoes, stoves, bags, trips (x3), rates. >
> >4. Personal email from a 13-year-old family member: >-'s: extra's
> >-s: guys (x2), rides >
> >5. Department store poster ad (women's "Sunsations" bathing
> suits): >-'s: bra's
> >-s: contours, ruffles, colors, prints, stripes...[there were more but
> I > stopped transcribing].
> > >So, am I losing my mind?
> >Bryan >

Peter A. McGraw
Linfield College
McMinnville, Oregon