Q. Our organization has a position called “director’s advisor.” There are about sixteen such advisors. I am editing a human resources paper on this position, and I have to figure out what the plural should be. There is an argument for making it “director’s advisors,” on the grounds that the job title itself is immutable, so if the text refers to several of them, an s should simply be placed at the end of the title. However, if there is one farmer and he has a field, it is a “farmer’s field.” The fields of several farmers would be referred to as “farmers’ fields.” Any assistance you can give in resolving this issue would be much appreciated!
Q. How would you pluralize “ram’s horn” when there are seven of them (i.e., more horns than one ram would naturally have)? Logically, it should be “rams’ horns,” but there is an argument that this should be treated in the same way as cowhides or sheepskins. In that case, wouldn’t it be “ram horns”? There are also votes in the office for “ram’s horns.”
Q. Is it the three R’s or Rs? The NYT seems to use R’s—I thought I’d double check with you folks before I publish something.
Q. The February 2012 issue of National Geographic has a headline and subtitle that read, “What Dogs Tell Us: The ABC’s of DNA.” While I realize that National Geographic may have their own style guide, would Chicago style eliminate that apostrophe from ABC’s?
Q. Hello, Wise Ones. If you were me, how would you pluralize B-26? B-26es? B-26s? (Not, I’m pretty sure, B-26’s.) None of them look right to me.
Q. Periods always go inside quotation marks. I have been told that the exception is when the matter within the quotation marks is a number or single letter. For example: The figure is impressed “1”. Please tell me if I have been misinformed!
Q. In a policy, I have to indicate that the word facility could be plural. The person editing the document has written it as facility(s). What is the correct way to portray nouns that end in y when necessary to indicate they could be singular or plural?
Q. Our marketing people want to know which is correct: The buyer(s) purchase a policy or the buyer(s) purchases a policy.
Q. If Q & A stands for question and answer (as in a Q & A session), how would you make this a plural, as in “The police officer recorded the [questions and answers] in his notebook”? I assume Qs & As is correct but would appreciate your confirmation.
Q. While copyediting several scientific research papers in different fields (mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, etc.), we encounter some uncountable nouns used in countable forms (with plural s and preceded by an or a). Some of these words may be used across the paper more than a hundred times, and correcting these may require rephrasing some parts. The authors of the papers complain that this is how they use these terms. Is it possible to use these uncountable nouns in the countable forms if this is how they are used in the scientific field? Also, should I question every single noun used in the research paper and check whether it is countable or uncountable?