New Grist: Conditional Plural(s)

Subject: New Grist: Conditional Plural(s)
From: Loren Castro <lfc -at- SOL -dot- CHINALAKE -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 07:15:55 -0700

I tried to send this last Saturday. It didn't seem to go, so I'll try
again. Why not? It's a semi-serious question.
Sentences like the following abound in DOD software documents:

"These plans shall be recorded in Software Installation Plan(s)

I call this a conditional plural. (Well, I have to call it
something.) I've never seen any mention, comment, or complaint about
this construction, so I might be the only person in the world who
doesn't like it. This contrivance is awkward and impossible to use
consistently throughout a document. Logically, it should read as

"These plans shall be recorded in a() Software Installation Plan(s)

This, of course, is laughable. Any opinion(s)(.)(?)(!)

lfc (Just hanging around on a beautiful Saturday morning waiting for
his *S*M*E* when he should be on a mountain.)

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