If it is right to dot is, is it right to cross ts? Or i’s and t’s, or Is and Ts, or ‘i’s and ‘t’s, or ies and tes, or ayes and teas, or eyes and tease, or iys and tees? Or the plural of I = WE and T = T-plus-some-more-of-them?

In re-editing Baa Baa Black Belt for the American market*, I have again tied my brains in a knot on the subject of plurals for letters. The book has a lot of Fs and Butts in it. I originally used the f’s option, but that makes a purist shudder. Apostrophes should only reflect missing letters or possessives. Of course, it could be argued that in some cases the apostrophe shows a missing letter in the spoken version, such as ‘ies’ = i’s, but that won’t work for the letter f. There you’d have to write efs = ‘fs. After reading all that the experts have to say on the subject, I conclude that it simply boils down to personal styles and preferences.

My own decision is to avoid the I’s or i’s option (because I, too, am a bit of a purist) and to work between Ts (clear enough) or ‘t’s, or ‘I’s or ‘i’s where confusion can be caused by the fact that a word is formed by adding ‘s’ as in ‘as’ or ‘is’ or ‘us’. Thus, one simple rule simply won’t work to simplify completely, because of the complexities of the complications!

© Colonialist January 2011 (Letterdash/Wordpress)

*Oh yes, I forgot I haven’t had a chance to mention in this blog yet that a publisher in USA has offered a contract for hardcover/digital rights in North America in respect of all four of my novels published so far.  Exciting!

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
This entry was posted in Fantasy, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Cindy says:

    Jolly good show, Col, congratulations!


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