Re: New Grist: Conditional Plural(s)

Subject: Re: New Grist: Conditional Plural(s)
From: Beverly Parks <bparks -at- HUACHUCA-EMH1 -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 08:45:53 MST

Loren Castro <lfc -at- SOL -dot- CHINALAKE -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL> wrote--
Sentences like the following abound in DOD software documents:
"These plans shall be recorded in Software Installation Plan(s)
(SIPs)."

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
follows:

"These plans shall be recorded in a() Software Installation Plan(s)
(SIP(s))."
This, of course, is laughable. Any opinion(s)(.)(?)(!)
=====================
Why not just make it plural and be done with it:

"These plans shall be recorded in Software Installation Plans."

Nothing about that sentence says that there *must* be more than
one SIP, right?

The (s) construction reminds me of another military habit:
following a spelled out number with its figure in parentheses.
For instance, "Three (3) copies of the software were...."

Utterly ridiculous (except maybe in legal documents).

Fellow sympathizer,

=*= Beverly Parks =*= bparks -at- huachuca-emh1 -dot- army -dot- mil =*=
=*= "Unless otherwise stated, all comments are my own. =*=
=*= I am not representing my employer in any way." =*=


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