The email about the plurals of surnames was well received, so I thought
I would mention another place where the apostrophe is misused by
The plural of a decade or century should not contain an apostrophe. For
example, 1740's and 1900's are incorrect. They should be 1740s and 1900s.
As another website said, "Apostrophes indicate possession or
contractions, not plurality."
An example of a contraction would be, "She graduated in '65." That is a
proper use of the apostrophe with dates.
While we are on the topic of plurals, if you are looking at a book of
baptism records that lists the date of birth for each person, how would
you express the plural of 'date of birth?' Would 'dates of birth' or
'date of births' be correct? The answer is the first one, 'dates of
Finally, one more thing about surname plurals. Some surnames exist with
an 's' at the end of them, whereas the 's' is lacking in a spelling
variation of the same surname. Michael and Michaels are such an
example. To place an 's' at the end of the Michael surname to make a
plural could mislead the reader. In such a case, I always reword the
sentence to avoid using the plural of the name. Instead of saying,
"There are 25 Michaels buried in that cemetery," I would say, "There are
25 people by the surname of Michael buried in that cemetery." Or,
"There are 25 people by the surname of Michaels buried in that
cemetery." The reader should not get confused about the meanings of