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What is the proper way to write the plural of a single letter? (another apostrophe question)

In the rosary, a Catholic sacramental composed of prayer beads, there is a short prayer concluding each decade called "Glory Be" ("Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit...").

Would the plural be Glory Bes or Glory Be's?

Likewise, do you say 10 Hail Marys?

  • There really isn't a simple rule for apostrophe plural's. As soon as a phrase becomes frozen into a single word, somebody wants to treat it as an indeclinable item like D or or , and uses an apostrophe plural on it. Usage, as we say, varies. Dec 13, 2012 at 16:28
  • @Andrew Leach: Pardon? Dec 13, 2012 at 17:40
  • To the two people who voted to close this as "Not Constructive", I respectfully suggest that you re-read the definition of that reason, and then kindly explain in which universe this question could even remotely be considered to fit under that definition. Really.
    – Marthaª
    Dec 13, 2012 at 21:49
  • I bet somebody calls that an adverb. Dec 13, 2012 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


At http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plurals.htm under 'Plurals and Apostrophes' is given the claimed rule 'to form the plural of a word-as-a-word, put the word cited in italics and add 's in non-italics'. This would lead to 10 Glory Be's and 7 Hail Mary's. Assuming that the use of excerpt-as-a-title is considered a close enough modelling of the use of word-as-a-word.

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