Plural form question: RBI or RBI's?

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Chris.Hilker

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Apr 27, 1992, 2:49:28 AM4/27/92
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Earlier this evening, I had an argument with a friend of mine over
the correct plural form of the baseball term RBI (which is short
for run batted in). When sportscasters say, "Bonilla had three RBI
today," it just doesn't sound right to me. So what's the verdict?

C.
--
Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!
Chris.Hilker
cs...@cats.ucsc.edu

David M Tate

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Apr 27, 1992, 1:12:37 PM4/27/92
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In article <33...@darkstar.ucsc.edu> cs...@cats.ucsc.edu (Chris.Hilker) writes:
>
>Earlier this evening, I had an argument with a friend of mine over
>the correct plural form of the baseball term RBI (which is short
>for run batted in). When sportscasters say, "Bonilla had three RBI
>today," it just doesn't sound right to me. So what's the verdict?

"Rs BI", of course. :-)

(Sorry; couldn't resist.)

Standard usage seems to be "RBIs". One can actually make a decent case for
this on the grounds that the acronym "RBI" functions as a single word, not
as a sequence of abbreviations. Similarly, the plural of "snafu" is "snafus",
not "esses nafu" or some such.

Of course, if you choose to expand the acronym in speech, you are no longer
using the acronym "RBI" as a morpheme, and normal standards of usage (i.e.
"runs batted in") apply.

HBP ("hit by pitch") functions similarly, with the added annoyance that it is
an adjectival phrase whose acronym functions as a noun. This can be avoided
if you so choose by using the alternative acronym HB ("hit batsman", plural
"hit batsmen"), especially when referring to a particular pitcher's record.

--
David M. Tate |"Is this the baseball I see before me
dt...@unix.cis.pitt.edu | Come spinning toward the plate? Come,
A poem should be dumb, / As old | let me smite thee. [...] Or art thou but
medallions to the thumb.--MacLeish| a slider of the mind? (MacRuth, act V)

Robert Rosenberg

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Apr 27, 1992, 4:02:31 PM4/27/92
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Baseball people say "ribbies," but I rather doubt they would write it.

Dan Tilque

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Apr 27, 1992, 5:14:59 PM4/27/92
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dt...@unix.cis.pitt.edu (David M Tate) writes:
>
>Standard usage seems to be "RBIs". One can actually make a decent case for
>this on the grounds that the acronym "RBI" functions as a single word, not
>as a sequence of abbreviations.

Support for your argument: I've heard RBI used as a verb. It's also
common to pronounce RBI as /rIbi/.

---
Dan Tilque -- da...@logos.WR.TEK.COM

Mark Slagle

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Apr 29, 1992, 3:25:16 AM4/29/92
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>In article <96...@wrgate.wr.tek.com>, da...@logos.wr.tek.com (Dan Tilque) writes:
> Support for your argument: I've heard RBI used as a verb. It's also
> common to pronounce RBI as /rIbi/.

----
There is precious little support from the fact that some
sportswriters and announcers have used something in some
particular way. They could be right, but I wouldn't give
much weight to it.
--
----
Mark E. Slagle PO Box 61059
sla...@lmsc.lockheed.com Sunnyvale, CA 94088
408-756-0895 USA

Dan Tilque

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May 1, 1992, 7:19:27 PM5/1/92
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sla...@lmsc.lockheed.com writes:
>>da...@logos.wr.tek.com (Dan Tilque) writes:
>> Support for your argument: I've heard RBI used as a verb. It's also
>> common to pronounce RBI as /rIbi/.
>
>----
>There is precious little support from the fact that some
>sportswriters and announcers have used something in some
>particular way. They could be right, but I wouldn't give
>much weight to it.

Right? Who said anything about right or wrong? I was just reporting a
usage that I'd heard (or read, I can't really remember where it was).
The fact that I did hear it indicates that at least some people treat
RBI as a unit (noun) and not an abbreviated phrase.

And what's wrong with using RBI as a verb?

---
Dan Tilque -- da...@logos.WR.TEK.COM

"[Circumcision] is a common medical procedure that involves -- and
here, in the interests of tastefulness, I am going to use code names --
taking hold of a guy's Oregonian and snipping his Post-Dispatch right
off." -- Dave Barry

Mark Slagle

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May 2, 1992, 3:10:32 AM5/2/92
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>In article <96...@wrgate.wr.tek.com>, da...@logos.wr.tek.com (Dan Tilque) writes:

> sla...@lmsc.lockheed.com writes:
>>>da...@logos.wr.tek.com (Dan Tilque) writes:
>>> Support for your argument: I've heard RBI used as a verb. It's also
>>> common to pronounce RBI as /rIbi/.
>>
>>----
>>There is precious little support from the fact that some
>>sportswriters and announcers have used something in some
>>particular way. They could be right, but I wouldn't give
>>much weight to it.

> Right? Who said anything about right or wrong? I was just reporting a
> usage that I'd heard (or read, I can't really remember where it was).
> The fact that I did hear it indicates that at least some people treat
> RBI as a unit (noun) and not an abbreviated phrase.

Support for an argument suggests agreement. That would
be one sense of "right". But perhaps you missed the
little play on words: weight on your support? Just
playing mostly. Sorry you didn't enjoy it.

> And what's wrong with using RBI as a verb?

Kinda clumsy, don't you think? I think sports
announcers are fun. As an "upper left coast"
resident, perhaps you are familiar with our
own Ron Fairly's unique ability to tie his own
tongue in knots trying to get out of the awkward
starts he makes. Personally, I like him. But
I don't try to model my own usage on his. Maybe
that's my real problem? You go ahead and use
RBI any way you want.

Dan Tilque

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May 5, 1992, 2:14:54 PM5/5/92
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sla...@lmsc.lockheed.com writes:
}>da...@logos.wr.tek.com (Dan Tilque) writes:
}
}> sla...@lmsc.lockheed.com writes:
}>>
}>>There is precious little support from the fact that some
}>>sportswriters and announcers have used something in some
}>>particular way. They could be right, but I wouldn't give
}>>much weight to it.
}
}> Right? Who said anything about right or wrong? I was just reporting a
}> usage that I'd heard (or read, I can't really remember where it was).
}
}Support for an argument suggests agreement. That would
}be one sense of "right". But perhaps you missed the
}little play on words: weight on your support? Just
}playing mostly. Sorry you didn't enjoy it.

Well, you pushed one of my buttons with the use of "right" and my knee
was so busy jerking I missed the wordplay.

}I think sports
}announcers are fun. As an "upper left coast"
}resident, perhaps you are familiar with our
}own Ron Fairly's unique ability to tie his own
}tongue in knots trying to get out of the awkward
}starts he makes.

Maybe I'd better change it to "Far Upper Left Coast". I didn't think
the Bay area would consider itself to be part of the upper left coast
(but thinking about it, I should have known better).

Any idea who thought of the term? I got it from the title of a
regular column in the Oregonian. Could they have borrowed it from
somewhere else?

Mark Slagle

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May 6, 1992, 5:05:11 AM5/6/92
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>In article <97...@wrgate.wr.tek.com>, da...@logos.wr.tek.com (Dan Tilque) writes:

> sla...@lmsc.lockheed.com writes:

> }I think sports
> }announcers are fun. As an "upper left coast"
> }resident, perhaps you are familiar with our
> }own Ron Fairly's unique ability to tie his own
> }tongue in knots trying to get out of the awkward
> }starts he makes.

> Maybe I'd better change it to "Far Upper Left Coast". I didn't think
> the Bay area would consider itself to be part of the upper left coast
> (but thinking about it, I should have known better).

We do try to maintain the fiction that we are above all the goings on
down on the LAPD turf (of course they have the upper (upraised?) hand
for now). But the musings of Mr. Fairly can be heard "from the
Farallons to the Rockies..." and so forth, so I wouldn't be surprised
if even you Oregonians could twiddle your radio dials to KNBR, the
"Giant 68". Unless you're some sort of Mariners fan, for heaven sake.

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