10 Abbreviations and symbols

10.5 Possessives and plurals

Abbreviations form the possessive in the ordinary way, with an apostrophe and s:

a CEO’s salary

MPs’ assistants

Most abbreviations form the plural by adding s; an apostrophe is not needed:





In plural forms of a single letter an apostrophe can sometimes be clearer:

A’s and S’s
the U’s
minding your p’s and q’s

When an abbreviation contains more than one full point, put the s after the final one (Ph.D.s, the d.t.s).

For abbreviations with one full point, such as ed., no., and Adm., see 10.2.1.

A few abbreviations have irregular plurals (e.g. Messrs for Mr). In some cases this stems from the Latin convention of doubling the letter to create plurals:

ff. (folios or following pages)

pp. (pages)

ll. (lines)

MSS (manuscripts)

opp. cit.

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Preface Editorial team Proofreading marks Glossary of printing and publishing terms