Proper Names

Q. When pluralizing surnames, are there instances when using an apostrophe could be considered appropriate? For example, “We’re going to dinner with the Laos” is potentially confusing. This sentence could easily be reworded (We’re going to dinner with the Lao family), but I’m wondering if Lao’s could be allowed in this context; that is, when pluralizing short, traditionally Asian surnames that could be misread when an s is added (e.g., the Gus, the Hans).

A. Although one could argue for this solution by citing the apostrophes that CMOS recommends for the plural of lowercase letters of the alphabet (“two a’s and three b’s”), using an apostrophe in surnames to indicate the plural is going to strike many readers as a flat-out mistake. You’re right that it’s easy to reword.