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#1
Old 08-13-2009, 03:23 PM
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Grammar question: U.S.' or U.S.'s

Quick and simple grammar question: how do I make "U.S." possessive? Do I add just the apostrophe, or apostrophe-s?
#2
Old 08-13-2009, 03:28 PM
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Unabbreviated, the possessive would be "United States' ...", but the abbreviation is pronounced /you ess/. That means the possessive is pronounced /you esses/, and suggests "U.S.'s ...". But I'd avoid the problem if possible.
#3
Old 08-13-2009, 03:32 PM
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If making it possessive I would unabbreviated it. I don't think there are any grammatical rules regarding making abbreviations possessive since it's more of a casual informal thing to say.
#4
Old 08-13-2009, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles View Post
Unabbreviated, the possessive would be "United States' ...", but the abbreviation is pronounced /you ess/. That means the possessive is pronounced /you esses/, and suggests "U.S.'s ...". But I'd avoid the problem if possible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fake Tales of San Francisco View Post
If making it possessive I would unabbreviated it. I don't think there are any grammatical rules regarding making abbreviations possessive since it's more of a casual informal thing to say.
OK, thanks to both of you. Unfortuantely I can't unabbreviate it or avoid it (the "U.S." is part of a company name), so I think I'll go with "U.S.'s"
#5
Old 08-13-2009, 03:46 PM
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So your example is not actually standalone "U.S." but is part of a company name? Presumably "Company U.S."? If that's the case then it's far less ambiguous: it's referring to a single company, not to 50 distinct states. The correct form would be in that case: Company U.S.'s.
#6
Old 08-13-2009, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lissener View Post
So your example is not actually standalone "U.S." but is part of a company name? Presumably "Company U.S."? If that's the case then it's far less ambiguous: it's referring to a single company, not to 50 distinct states.
Since the U.S. Civil War, the term hasn't been a collective noun referring to 50 distinct states anyway:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Historian Shelby Foote
Before the war, it was said "the United States are." Grammatically, it was spoken that way and thought of as a collection of independent states. And after the war, it was always "the United States is," as we say today without being self-conscious at all. And that sums up what the war accomplished. It made us an "is."
And he's not the only one to assert this.

linky
The Washington Post said it as early as 1887:

Quote:
There was a time a few years ago when the United States was spoken of in the plural number. Men said "the United States are" "the United States have" "the United States were." But the war changed all that. Along the line of fire from the Chesapeake to Sabine Pass was settled forever the question of grammar. Not Wells, or Green, or Lindley Murray decided it, but the sabers of Sheridan, the muskets of Sherman, the artillery of Grant. ... The surrender of Mr. Davis and Gen. Lee meant a transition from the plural to the singular.
The Washington Post, Apr. 24, 1887, p. 4
#7
Old 08-14-2009, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
Since the U.S. Civil War, the term hasn't been a collective noun referring to 50 distinct states anyway:
I agree. I only meant that as part of a trademark which was even further removed from the original plural, there was even less likelihood of ambiguity; I was anticipating someone coming in here and arguing that "U.S." is technically a plural noun, although I myself don't believe that at all.

Last edited by lissener; 08-14-2009 at 10:33 AM.
#8
Old 08-14-2009, 12:00 PM
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This is a choose-your-style-manual issue. Way back in the day I was taught to conform to a particular style manual, which said you always add the terminal s. So, I write "Congress's."

It doesn't mean I'll go nuts if I see you writing Congress', because I am sure there is a rival style manual that supports that too.

Where I will get critical is if (1) it's my document, and your deviating from my preferred style when you edit it; or (2) it's your document, and you're not being consistent. With many questions of style, consistency is the most important point.
#9
Old 08-14-2009, 12:15 PM
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I'd take out the periods:

US's
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