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My question is similar to "Dollars' worth" vs. "dollars worth" for numerals but for numerals that are followed by a currency abbreviation.

When it's spelled out, it's clear that the "worth of" construction uses a possessive: "It uses 100 dollars' worth of electronics."

But when "dollars" is replaced by a currency code like USD, I'm not sure how to properly form a possessive on the phrase "100 USD."

All of these look incorrect or strange to me in a "worth of" context. Which is correct?

  • 100 USD' worth of electronics — since the D stands for "dollars" here, maybe, but looks like a typo since there's no visible 's'
  • 100 USDs' worth of electronics — doesn't seem correct unless you're pronouncing "ewe ess dees" out loud (but I would normally say something like "100 American/US dollars' worth," "100 dollars' (US) worth," "100 dollars worth (US)" instead); it's not normally written "USDs"
  • 100 USD worth of electronics — best bet?

…or something else I hadn't considered?

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  • USD United States Dollar is a conventional acronym used, especially in finance to refer to American dollars. AUD, for instance refers to Australian dollars, NZD New Zeland dollar etc.
    – user 66974
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 8:35
  • Agastya's tomb is Anandapadmanabha temple, the richest temple in India with 10,000 billion USD worth gold precious, stones and jewellery. books.google.it/…
    – user 66974
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 8:39
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    @user121863 I find your examples interesting, especially because one is missing the "of" after "worth," which seems incorrect. Anyway, feel free to post an actual answer! :)
    – Kev
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 10:38
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    @Kev That's because the possessive is inherent in the particular use of the term. It's like knowing that PIN stands for personal information number, even though you use the short term as its own grammatical unit. In this case, the pronunciation is also part of the term itself. When you see 100 USD you say "one-hundred US dollars." When you see 100 USD worth, you say "one-hundred US dollars' worth." But you can't pronounce the presence of lack of an apostrophe, so what would be written, if it weren't just spoken, is assumed. In short, no possessive is actually written with the term. Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 13:03
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    This is a great example of a well-written question, by the way. De-duplication of questions, plenty of examples, a clear question, and an inquisitive attitude. Kudos to you. Commented Jun 5, 2020 at 13:25

1 Answer 1

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No possessive

I think it looks best without the possessive, and that matches a few examples I found online:

  • UNICEF delivers 5 million USD worth of supplies for COVID-19 response in South Sudan. — UNICEF

  • If you just want to count the value of notes and coins, there are about U.S. $2.1 trillion worth of notes and coins floating around the globe — How Stuff Works

Alternatively, avoid the issue by rewording: "supplies worth 5 million USD" (UNICEF).

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  • Agreed. The dropping of the apostrophe in such cases is becoming more standard. I haven't checked on a nine day/s/s' wonder recently. Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 14:19

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