Writing for Business

Jul 14 2009   1:43PM GMT

Dot i’s and cross t’s?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

typing Which is correct?
When it comes to compliance, make sure all your ____________________.
a. i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed
b. is are dotted and ts are crossed

Answer: a

Explanation: Pluralization of single letters is the ONLY time that apostrophes are used to make something plural. The ONLY time.

Check out the Apostrophe Abuse blog to see the type of mockery you could make yourself subject to if you break the rule.

Grammar Girl covers pluralization of single letters in her post about The Apostrophe Catastrophe.

3  Comments on this Post

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  • wantoosoon

    Nonsense! This is a complete misuse of apostrophes. It's confusing and reads badly. What function are the apostrophes performing here, exactly?

    It would be far better to capitalise, as follows:

    'Cross your Ts and dot your Is.'

    Unnecessary capitalisation is a far lesser crime than using apostrophes incorrectly; the rules for using apostrophes are clear-cut and widely understood.

    10 pointsBadges:
  • Ivy Wigmore
    Thanks for commenting, but the rules for using apostrophes actually vary from one style guide to another. We (mostly) follow AP style, which requires an apostrophe and "s" for the possessive form of single letters.
    735 pointsBadges:
  • potatochip
    'Cross your Ts and dot your Is' makes no sense because the capital for of these letters are not dotted or crossed.

    10 pointsBadges:

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