Abbreviations are Words!

Thought I’d share sometning that I noticed the other day. We treat abbreviations as if they were words separate from the phrase they represent. Here’s the sentence that I noticed:

Coincidentally, I used a clip from “Stalag 17” yesterday, and, in the movie version, Peter Graves plays a rat who is collaborating with government forces to betray Allied POWs.

What’s the plural of “prisoner of war”? It’s “prisoners of war.” But what’s the plural of “POW”? Yup, it’s “POWs.”—That certainly doesn’t mean “prisoner of wars.”

The plurals of “attorney general” and “court martial” both put the “s” on the first word, but after the abbreviation. Well, I’ve seen “AG” used for “attorney general.” I haven’t actually run into “CM,” though I suppose it could happen.

Not much of a lesson, but I thought I’d share. Can you think of any other examples? Put them in the comments.