Acronym Plurals

The traditional style of pluralizing single letters is by the addition of ís (as in Bís come after Aís, and mind your pís and qís). This method is extended to acronyms and to initialisms. For example, CD is used as an abbreviation for compact disc, and its plural form, compact discs, is rendered CDís.

Acronyms and initialisms are abbreviations typically written in upper case, sometimes with periods to indicate the omission of letters. Some include both upper case and lower case letters. To avoid confusion, the use of ís to form the acronym or initialism plural is preferred. In many cases, were an additional s (without the apostrophe) be used to form the plural, it could be mistaken for an s that is part of the acronym. Formal style guides require the use of ís, partly to make it clear that the lowercase s is only for pluralization and would not appear in the singular form of the word. This usage is similar to the use of the form xís as the plural of x, rather than the possibly confusing form xs. However, in cases where the acronym is spelled in lower case, the plural is generally formed by adding s.

Correct plural forms: B.S.ís, M.B.A.ís, Ph.D.ís, BMusís, IDís, RAMís, URLís, DVDís, TVís, PTAís, SUVís, RIOís, lasers, radars.

The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage defines the correct plural forms for acronyms as formed by adding ís. Some style guides allow the optional use of s for acronym and initialism plurals. Editorial style manuals recommend forming the plurals and possessives of acronyms and abbreviations by adding ís or s. If the abbreviation uses periods or other internal punctuation to separate its letters, or if the use of s alone is likely to create confusion, ís should be used to form the plural.

There are cases where plurals of abbreviations, acronyms, or initialisms take special forms. For example, the plural form for the abbreviation p. (page) is pp. (pages), the plural for v. (volume) is vv. (volumes), the plural for MS (manuscript) is MSS (manuscripts).

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