The Plural of RPM?

Subject: The Plural of RPM?
From: Stuart Burnfield <sburnf -at- au1 -dot- ibm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 3 May 2006 14:37:59 +0800

Tom said:
> I also hate to apply the possessive to an inanimate object or
> a company for example, "IBM's net worth." Is there a rule about
> that, or is that just me?

And Geoff replied:
> ... avoiding this form of possessive contradicts many centuries
> of English usage: nowhere does it say that only living things
> can possess something, and English would be a horribly stilted
> language if you couldn't say "the mountain's shadow", "the
> perfume's aroma", and so on. Although it's true that one must
> actually think briefly about whether it's incorrect to personify
> the inanimate, the only situation when that personification
> must reasonably be avoided is when it misleads the reader.

I thinks that's a little strong. A company might have its own reasons
for preferring to avoid personification. To use Tom's example, the
IBM Style guide says:

Use the possessive form for individuals or individuals' titles only.

Avoid the possessive form when you refer to abbreviations,
brand names, and inanimate objects.

Examples (incorrect)
IBM's practice is to...

I would treat this as a requirement or a strong preference if I
happened to be working for IBM or an IBM partner.




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