History says no apostrophe on ‘pros and cons’

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using an apostrophe in the phrase pros and cons?

The pros are that many readers will think it looks right while others won’t care at all if it is because they’re more interested in your content.

The cons are that a good number of readers still will realize that the apostrophes are wrong, and those others who didn’t care in the pros example still won’t.

Pros and cons comes from the Latin phrase pro et contra, meaning “for and against”. Like most Latin phrases that Renaissance writers fell in love with, it has been abbreviated as pros and cons (no apostrophes) since the 1500s. Given this well-established history of no apostrophes, I advise sticking with history.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.