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September 12, 1986

Eponym's 's: Argyll Robinson, Not pseudo-Turner, Was e. e. cummings' endocrinologist-Reply

Author Affiliations

National Board of Medical Examiners Philadelphia

JAMA. 1986;256(10):1295-1296. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380100069019

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In Reply.—  The letters of Dr Talbott and Messrs Duplantier and Laborde confirm our impression that objections to dropping the 's seem to rest on familiarity and tradition and a sense of comfort rather than on any clearly articulated principle. Many of us felt at first that "Down syndrome" or "Hodgkin disease" sounded a little odd, but with a little practice the use of eponyms without 's becomes quite easy and comfortable—a short step over a small hump toward an ultimately pleasant consistency.I am distressed that Mr Duplantier and Mr Laborde find dropping the 's to be "blatant linguistic impropriety," violating "linguistic dynamics." The matter seems less linguistic than related to common sense. I should point out that the no 's convention did not originate with the National Board of Medical Examiners but with the American Medical Association in its 1976 revision of the Manual for Authors & Editors