I received the following inquiry from kiddle97:
I was reading the SPOGG (I’m sure you know what Society that is!) newsletter today, and it had an article about you and your grammar vandalism, and so that led me to wonder if maybe you could answer a question for me? My husband and I disagreed about it the other day. I was certain I was correct, and he was certain he was. Can you help? It’s concerning the Oakland Athletics baseball team.
I had written something about the “As” in my blog the other day, and when he was reading it, he told me it needed an apostrophe. I said that there was no way it could need an apostrophe, as it was not possessive and not a conjunction for “Athletics is”. He said it needed one because it was a contraction, supposedly having dropped the letters t,h,l,e,t,i, and c.
Now, granted, you see “A’s” everywhere you go on anything official, but as you have pointed out in your blog, it’s frequently businesses, etc., that need the most help. I’ll be so ashamed if I am wrong, and yet, my husband will almost be proud if he is wrong, because then it will prove, in his words, that “popular culture has won out.” Help!
First of all, thanks for asking, kiddle97! Allow me to begin with the good news. Your husband is incorrect — the apostrophe isn’t meant to replace the letters following the A.
However, A’s is the correct form.
When discussing a single letter in the plural form, one always adds an apostrophe.
I would have received all A’s first quarter senior year if it hadn’t been for the evil Leo P. Kenney and his wild head of hair.
However, one doesn’t add an apostrophe for plurals of multiple letters.
Roughly half the RAs at Fairfield University get fired each year for underage drinking.
Please don’t be ashamed, kiddle97. This is a tough one — even I didn’t know this rule until recently! You’re right, however, to be suspicious about whether Major League Baseball had it right. So many businesses let grammar errors slip through the cracks and don’t find out until long after they’ve blasted them everywhere.
If anyone else has any grammar-related questions, ask away!