Metric Symbols and Money


Corporate names








Dash it







Question marks


Quotation marks



Logos as names

Distinguish logos from names and capitalize and punctuate the name, not the logo. For example, avoid the confusion of "k.d. lange was looking for GUESS? jeans at the AnnTaylor. store but settled on a pair of adidas." The logo is k.d. lange; her name is K. D. Lang. GUESS? is a logo for Guess products. Ann Taylor's "dot" is part of a logo, not a name.

Mid-word capitalization is more acceptable, however. MasterCard, iMac, CompuServe.


Singular versus Plural when nouns become modifiers

How many Cub fans in a Teamster election? Well, none. The question of singular vs. plural when a noun becomes a modifier is a sticky one, but this can be said with certainty: Proper nouns retain any plural characteristics they may have. Thus, a fan of the Cubs is a Cubs fan. When the Teamsters have an election, it's a Teamsters election. (The desire to drop these s's is a strong one, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to read about Burt Reynold movies.)

With common nouns, the general rule is to go with the singular, which is why we have burger joints and cocktail lounges that serve multiple burgers and cocktails. That tradition doesn't always hold. Note that weapons remains plural in weapons depot. I suppose you could get pedantic and insist on weapon depots, but you'd have to bow to the weight of common usage (and common sense) before stooping to arm control.

Then there's teachers union and pilots lounge and countless others -- the not-quite-technically-possessive class of phrases that AP has decreed should stay plural, but with no apostrophes. I agree that the possessive looks funny, but I always at least consider the singular in such a case. ---www.theslot.com


Plurals of closely linked nouns

When two nouns are closely linked, as in "bed and breakfast" or "gin and tonic," the plural is formed on the final noun only ("bed and breakfasts" and "gin and tonics"). Where the intention is to show the plurality of both nouns, rather than the plurality of the entity itself, then each noun is rendered in the plural. For example, "a tray of gin and tonics" would offer one choice (aside from abstinance), whereas "a tray of gins and tonics" would offer a choice to both the drinker and the teetotaller.

The Queen Mother enjoyed her gin and tonics, but never stayed at bed and breakfasts.


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