More on LED grammar

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by jpanhalt, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,681
    900
    Well, the a/an issue has been beaten to death. What if instead of just one LED, you had 5? A typical sentence might be, "I want to control 5 {blank}."

    Which of the following is/are correct?

    a) 5 LED
    b) 5 LEDs
    c) 5 LED's

    John
     
  2. ELECTRONERD

    Senior Member

    May 26, 2009
    1,146
    16
    I would say C, because apostrophes show possesion and in this case it would be "I," as in you.

    Example: "These are Nan and Faron's compact discs." ( The compact discs belong to both Nan and Faron.)

    In our example, "I want to control 5 LED's" ( The five Light Emitting Diodes belong to "I" or actually you).
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  3. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,681
    900
    I think you misinterpreted the question. Let me explain it a little. In the example, do you need to make the plural of LED, and if so, what is the plural of LED? It is not intended to mean the possessive; although, that may not mean that an apostrophe s cannot be used.

    John
     
  4. AlexR

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    735
    54
    Apostrophes can indeed show possession however the LEDs in this case don't possess actually possess anything, not even me, so the correct answer is B.
     
  5. ELECTRONERD

    Senior Member

    May 26, 2009
    1,146
    16
    Yes, it would be plural. So, "I want to control 5 Light Emitting Diodes" Now that I think of it, It would be B since "Diodes" is correct. It is important whenever using acronyms that you unravell them to find the correct grammar.
     
  6. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,681
    900
    OK, let's call that logic "constructionist." That is, you look at what the acronym represents and make your decision based thereon. But, isn't "D" the first letter for both "diode" and "diodes?"

    John
     
  7. someonesdad

    Senior Member

    Jul 7, 2009
    1,585
    141
    As always, one should refer to his publication or style guide for a definitive answer. I prefer to use the Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed.) and the rule given there is to append a lower case s in most cases. The apostrophe is used when the abbreviation includes periods or lower case letters: p's and q's, Ph.D.'s (and PhD's is also OK). Whether the apostrophe is possessive is determined by semantics, not syntax. If you're interested, the CMS will also give some examples of exceptions to these rules.
     
  8. ELECTRONERD

    Senior Member

    May 26, 2009
    1,146
    16
    While "D" is the first letter for both "diode" and "diodes" you will know. In your example, it was evident that an "s" needed to be added at the end of "diode. "I want to control 5 Light Emitting Diode" simply doesn't make sense. People can go from there and choose the correct "s" format.
     
  9. jpanhalt

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 18, 2008
    5,681
    900
    @ Electronerd

    I think you are missing the point. An acronym stands alone. It can be spoken as a single word (e.g., radar, SWAT) or by its individual letters (e.g., LED, DNC). The way the acronym sounds, not the words from which it is derived, is critical to the grammar. Just as one should say, "A Light Emitting Diode," one should also say "Five Light Emitting Diodes." While "A Light Emitting Diode" is correct, "A LED" is incorrect, assuming that person is following the common practice of saying the individual letters.

    I believe any one of the responses I posed in this thread could be used in the blank, depending on context. By far, the least likely form is "LED" (Example: I want to control a 5-LED beacon, i.e., make it an adjective).

    Of the other two options, both are used commonly and are arguably correct. I prefer LEDs when I mean the plural and LED's when I mean the possessive.

    However, an apostrophe can often mean the plural (hence the wording I used in response #3). If your child got an A in every course at school, would you write, "My child got all As -- even worse, all as?" Or, would you write, "My child got all A's?" Similarly, the plural of 1 is 1's, X is X's, etc. I would use an apostrophe for the plural of any acronym when adding an "s" might lead to confusion. I would also omit the "s" if the plural form looked silly or couldn't be pronounced, e.g., the plural of POTUS, which is usually spoken as if it were a word.

    John

    POTUS = President of the United States
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
  10. Ratch

    New Member

    Mar 20, 2007
    1,068
    3
  11. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
    3,373
    1,157
    LEDs is the plural form. LED's is the possessive form. I want to control five LEDs.

    I'm damm glad there weren't any dangling participles. :D
     
  12. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,536
    I choose B
     
  13. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    ALL YOUR LEDs ARE BELONG TO US.
     
Loading...