Fun with Plurals

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022

Recently, Apple turned on a new “Emergency SOS” feature, which uses satellites in space to make it possible to call for help even when no cellular service is available. That’s both impressive and something I hope I never need, but I want to note Apple’s press release, whose headline states that the feature is available for “the iPhone 14 lineup”.

Me, I prefer to say it’s available “on all the iPhones 14”. Indeed, many moons ago, I tweeted the following:

  • New hobby: Creating & using odd plurals similar to ‘attorneys general’.

    Successful Examples:

    iPods Touch
    Millers High Life
    Minis Cooper

In the 13+ years since that tweet, I have kept up this silly little quirk. For me, it’s most frequently useful with Apple products. Though the company recently retired the last of the iPods Touch, they still sell MacBooks Air, iPhones Pro, and HomePods Mini by the millions. Heck, Apple has even followed my lead themselves, with the AirPods Pro. I encourage all those who write about Apple to adopt this style, for it is fun and at the very least, not incorrect.

There are plenty of other odd plurals already in use in the English language, and they always make me smile. I don’t often get a chance to say “culs-de-sac” or “Johnnies-come-lately”, but when I can work them into a conversation, it makes my day. As evidenced by the “Minis Cooper” example above, however, I also enjoy pluralizing things in ways that stodgy old language experts might claim are wrong. To them, I say “Fie!”. If a name has two parts where the second could conceivably be an adjective, well then, let’s go wild.

Car models of all sorts are a good starting point. While the rental car fleet in America is chock full of Toyotas Corolla, those seeking more adventure can find plenty of Jeeps Wrangler as well. When you’re out on a drive, you might dine at one of our many fine chain restaurants, choosing from among thousands of Burgers King or Pizzas Hut in the US. If an approximation of food from other lands is more your thing, we have Tacos Bell and Pandas Express galore. And for dessert, we have many scrumptious candies. This past Halloween, I spent an hour trick-or-treating with a mother-daughter pair of Rosies the Riveter. In that time, I sought out Kits Kat, while avoiding Bits-O-Honey and Babies Ruth.

Much like embracing the glorious imperfection of bad photographs, utilizing odd plurals is a wonderful way to add whimsy to your life. Give it a try, and you too can revel in the strange looks you get.


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