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11 Brand Names With Confusing Plurals

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Let's just say right off the bat that companies generally do not have an official position on how to pluralize their brand names, because they do not want you to pluralize them at all. To protect their trademarks, companies need to keep them from becoming generic terms. They don't want people to use band-aids (generic), but Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages. They don't want people to eat oreos, but Oreo cookies.

But the pluralizing is going to happen anyway (even in the companies' own advertising campaigns). This is just how we talk about things. Nobody asks for adhesive bandages. Everybody eats Oreos. There are some brands, however, that people aren't quite sure how to talk about.

1. LEGO? LEGOS?

If you go to LEGOS.com, they don't just redirect you to LEGO.com, they first subtly scold you with a message that essentially says, "Oh, you must be looking for LEGO bricks and toys (not Legos, you idiot)." But that's toned way down from the message that greeted LEGO fans in 2005 (screenshot above via YesButNoButYes). It seems that only in North America do people talk about "playing with LEGOs" and "stepping on LEGOs." Elsewhere people play with LEGO, and step on LEGO bricks.

2. Lexuses? Lexi? Lexera?

Lexus, like Prius, also has a Latinate look to it that makes people hesitate at saying Lexuses.

3. Mercedeses? Mercedes?

Mercedeses doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. Some prefer to treat it like "moose" and let the same word stand for one Mercedes or four Mercedes. Or you could always say Benzes.

4. Kleenexes? Kleenices?

It works well as a mass noun—we talk about a box of Kleenex, but what if you want exactly three Kleenex brand tissues? It's an irresistible temptation to show off your familiarity with Latin "–ex" pluralization, is what it is.

5. Twix? Twixes? Twixen?

The first problem is that there are two pieces in a package of Twix brand candy bars. Are both of them taken together Twix or Twixes? And what if you have more than one package? Then you have two Twixes? Or two packs of Twixes? Or just a bunch of Twix?

6. Rolexes? Roleges? Rolices?

Are you trying to look like some kind of king with all your Rolexes? Then you may want to reference the Latin rex (king), plural reges, with Roleges, an appropriately pretentious and extravagant choice.

7. Filet-O-Fish? Filet-O-Fishes? Filets-O-Fish?

Fish is the plural of fish, unless you're talking different varieties of fish, in which case it's fishes. A Filet-O-Fish may actually be a Filet-O-(various)Fishes for all you know, so how to refer to more than one sandwich? You could take the easy way out with "Filet-O-Fish sandwiches," but isn't it more fun to go the attorneys-general route with Filets-O-Fish?

8. BlackBerrys? BlackBerries?

This one only concerns the written form. It just looks weird to have a y followed by a plural s, but pluralizing berry the usual way doesn't seem right either. I guess that's why "mobile devices" gained traction during the early BlackBerry days. Pretty sneaky way to do trademark enforcement, BlackBerry. Well played.

9. Priuses? Prii? Priora? Prien?

In 2011, Toyota ran an ad campaign where they encouraged people vote for their preferred plural form of Prius. Prii was the winner. But plain old English Priuses seems to be the more common choice in real life.

10. Google Glass? Google Glasses?

So far, people have been pretty good about following Google's trademark directive and calling it Google Glass rather than Google Glasses (I'm wearing my Google Glass today. Everyone is staring at my Google Glass). However, not that many people have one (them?) yet. We'll see what happens when more people start wandering through the house shouting "Honey, have you seen my Google Glass(es)?"

11. iPad2s? iPads 2?

There's a short period of time after a new version of an electronic product comes out when people want to refer specifically to that version. They don't just want to talk about iPads or iPhones, but about iPad2s or iPhone5s. Or iPads 2 and iPhones 5? Of course, "version 2 iPads" and "version 5 iPhones" would be the most prudent choices, but when you're into Lexera, Mercedeses, Roleges, and Filets-O-Fish, who really cares about prudence? I say iPad2zees and iPhone5zees.

All images courtesy of Getty Images

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Including Smiley Emojis in Your Work Emails Could Make You Look Incompetent
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If you’re looking to give your dry work emails some personality, sprinkling in emojis may not be the smartest strategy. As Mashable reports, smiley emojis in professional correspondences rarely convey the sentiments of warmth that were intended. But they do make the sender come across as incompetent, according to new research. For their paper titled "The Dark Side of a Smiley," researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel looked at 549 subjects from 29 countries. After reading emails related to professional matters, participants were asked to judge the "competence and warmth" of the anonymous sender. Emails that featured a smiley face were found to have a "negative effect on the perception of competence." That anti-emoji bias led readers to view the actual content of those emails as less focused and less detailed than the messages that didn’t include emojis. Previous research has shown that sending emojis to people you’re not 100 percent comfortable with is always a gamble. That’s because unlike words or facial expressions, which are usually clear in their meanings, the pictographs we shoot back and forth with our phones tend to be ambiguous. One study published last year shows that the same emoji can be interpreted as either positive or negative, depending on the smartphone platform on which it appears. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to communicate effectively without leaning on emojis to make you look human. Here are some etiquette tips for making your work emails sound clear and competent. [h/t Mashable]
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9 Sweet Old Words for Bitter Tastes and Taunts
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Whether you’re enjoying the sharp taste of an IPA or disliking some nasty words from a colleague, it’s hard not to talk about bitterness. But we could all use a few new—or old—terms for this all-too-common concept. So let’s dig into the history of English to find a few words fit to describe barbs and rhubarbs.

1. STOMACHOUS

Have you ever spoken with bile and gall? If so, you’ll understand why stomachous is also a word describing bitterness, especially bitter words and feelings. This is an angry word to describe spiteful outbursts that come when you’ve had a bellyful of something. In The Faerie Queen, Edmond Spencer used the term, describing those who, “With sterne lookes, and stomachous disdaine, Gaue signes of grudge and discontentment vaine." You can also say someone is “stomachously angry,” a level of anger requiring a handful of antacids.

2. WORMWOOD

Artemisia absinthium (wormwood) is the patron plant of bitterness, which has made wormwood synonymous with the concept. Since at least the 1500s, that has included wormwood being used as an adjective. Shakespeare used the term in this way: “Thy secret pleasure turnes to open shame ... Thy sugred tongue to bitter wormwood tast.” George Parsons Lathrop reinforced this meaning in 1895 via the bitterness of regret, describing “the wormwood memories of wrongs in the past.” Unsurprisingly, some beers are brewed with wormwood to add bitterness, like Storm Wormwood IPA.

3. BRINISH

The earliest uses of brinish are waterlogged, referring to saltiness of the sea. The term then shifted to tears and then more general bitterness. Samuel Hieron used it in his 1620 book Works: “These brinish inuectiues are vnsauory” [sic]. Nothing can ruin your day quite like brinish invective.

4. CRABBED

Crabby is a popular word for moods that are, shall we say, not reminiscent of puppies and rainbows. Crabbed has likewise been used to describe people in ways that aren’t flattering to the crab community. The Oxford English Dictionary’s etymological note is amusing: “The primary reference was to the crooked or wayward gait of the crustacean, and the contradictory, perverse, and fractious disposition which this expressed.” This led to a variety of meanings running the gamut from perverse to combative to irritable—so bitter fits right in. Since the 1400s, crabbed has sometimes referred to tastes and other things that are closer to a triple IPA than a chocolate cookie. OED examples of “crabbed supper” and “crabbed entertainment” both sound displeasing to the stomach.

5. ABSINTHIAN

This word, found in English since the 1600s, is mainly a literary term suggesting wormwood in its early uses; later, it started applying to the green alcohol that is bitter and often illegal. A 1635 couplet from poet Thomas Randolph sounds like sound dietary advice: “Best Physique then, when gall with sugar meets, Tempring Absinthian bitternesse with sweets.” A later use, from 1882 by poet Egbert Martin, makes a more spiritual recommendation: “Prayer can empty life's absinthian gall, Rest and peace and quiet wait its call.”

6. RODENT

Now here’s a bizarre, and rare, twist on a common word. Though we’re most familiar with rodents as the nasty rats digging through your garbage and the adorable hamsters spinning in a wheel, this term has occasionally been an adjective. Though later uses apply to corrosiveness and literal rodents, the earliest known example refers to bitterness. A medical example from 1633, referring to the bodily humors, shows how this odd term was used: “They offend in quality, being too hot, or too cold, or too sharp, and rodent.”

7. NIPPIT

The first uses of nippit, found in the 1500s, refer to scarcity, which may be because this is a variation of nipped. In the 1800s, the term spread to miserliness and narrow-mindedness, and from there to more general bitterness. OED examples describe “nippit words” and people who are “mean or nippit.”

8. SNELL

This marvelous word first referred to physical and mental quickness. A “snell remark” showed a quick wit. But that keenness spread to a different sort of sharpness: the severity or crispness of bitter weather. An 1822 use from Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine uses this sense: “The wintry air is snell and keen.”

9. TETRICAL

The Latinate term for bitterness and harshness of various sorts appears in José Francisco de Isla's 1772 book The History of the Famous Preacher Friar Gerund de Campazas, describing some non-sweet folks: "Some so tetrical, so cross-grained, and of so corrupt a taste." A similar meaning is shared by the also-rare terms tetric, tetricity, tetricious, and tetritude. Thankfully, there is no relation to the sweet game of Tetris.

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