Usage and Grammar

Q. In the US Army supply system, writers refer to requested supplies as dues-in (more than one due-in not yet received), and dues-out (more than one due-out not yet issued to a requestor). The GPO Style Manual (paragraph 5.7) seems to prescribe due-ins and due-outs as the correct plural form (examples they give are tie-ins, run-ins, come-ons). What do you say about these plural forms? Many thanks for your help!

A. If you are thinking of “due” as an adjective, then I agree that “due-ins” would be correct. If you think of it as a noun, however (see Webster’s ), then “dues-in” would work just fine. In any case, if “dues-in” is the army colloquial, there’s probably no use fighting it. If it annoys you, try to think of it as a charming bit of insiders’ jargon.