- On September 29, 2015
“Come for Bloody Mary’s,” read the invitation to Sunday brunch.
“I’ll be there,” I responded. But what’s with the apostrophe? (I kept that question to myself.)
To make a plural out of many proper names, including ones that that end in y, you simply add s, so Bloody Marys would have been the correct formulation.
A final y at the end of a proper name does not require a change to ies in the plural—that’s how you form the plural of common nouns like parties. If the proper name ends in s, sh, ch, x, or z—for example, McGinness—you add es, as in “Come to the McGinnesses for drinks on Sunday.” The same rule applies to common nouns like gin fizzes and brunches.
When it comes to pluralizing abbreviations and numbers, you often see an apostrophe, but most publications and usage guides—including AP style—say to drop the apostrophe, as in:
• Apple and Android are the dominant OSes.
• Four VIPs came to our event.
• He is in his 80s.
When you’re making a plural out of a single letter, use the apostrophe, as in:
• My last name has two e’s in it.
• Mind your p’s and q’s.
• I got straight A’s in college because I laid off the cocktails.
That last one is a bit of revisionist history.
(If you’re wondering why Bloody Mary is capitalized and gin fizz is not, it’s because Bloody Mary is named after a real person—Mary I of England whose persecution of Protestants earned her the name Bloody Mary.)