sentence structure/grammar

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was first used in the sentence below grammatically correct? Do I use an apostrophe after 1300?

See example:

Toilet paper was first used in the 1300's.
asked Jan 08 '12 at 13:31 Teri Williams New member

4 answers


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Teri,

"was used" is fine.  It's passive, but the "doer" of the action (using toilet paper) isn't important. 

 

No, you don't use an apostrophe with 1300s.  Apostrophes are used to show omitted letters (don't) and possession. 

link comment edited Jan 08 '12 at 16:32 Jody M. Expert
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Actually, you do use an apostrophe to make something plural when it is not a spelled out word. This includes numbers such as 1300, single letters as below, or even when a child learns his ABC's.

 

Mind your p’s and q’s, my dear!

 

http://www.grammarly.com/handbook/punctuation/apostrophe/4/apostrophe-use-forming-plurals-of-lowercase-or-upp/

link answered Jan 08 '12 at 18:09 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

I couldn't agree with your comment more. If I've learned anything today, it's to research my answers more before posting them. I hadn't realized that both are acceptable. Jody M.Jan 08 '12 at 23:51

Cool. KimberlyJan 10 '12 at 21:28

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Upon reading the answer provided by Patty, I did some online research.  I did this because I was always taught never to use an apostrophe with years or uppercase letters, such as ABCs.  Apparently, in American usage, it's ok to use an apostrophe when pluralizing years.  The opposite is true in British usage.  This is amusing to me since I'm American.

 

http://www.informatics.sussex.ac.uk/department/docs/punctuation/node21.html

 

I suppose it's a style thing.

link answered Jan 08 '12 at 21:21 Jody M. Expert

Another example of why English is a confusing language. Even to native speakers the rules aren't always the rules! Patty TJan 08 '12 at 22:35

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Use 1300's for a strictly American audience, and 1300s (without the apostrophe) if you're writing for a British audience. 

link comment answered Jan 10 '12 at 18:09 Shaila Fernandes Expert

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