Submitted by Dyske on August 21, 2011

LEGOs — Is the Plural form of LEGO incorrect?

On this page (#18), the writer says, rather authoritatively, that “LEGOs” (plural of LEGO) is wrong because “LEGO” is a company name (a proper noun). I disagree. Firstly, there is no grammatical rule that says a proper noun cannot be used to refer to a countable object. “Mac” is a proper noun. It’s a name of a product but it is also used to refer to the individual Macintosh machines, i.e., “Macs”. Think of car companies, like Honda, BMW, and Porsche. When we refer to their cars, we say, “Hondas”, “BMWs”, and “Porsches”. BMW’s own site uses the plural form: “Today’s BMWs are equipped with...” And, Porsche’s own site says, “Barely any two Porsches are identical.”

So, I would say “LEGOs” is perfectly fine if you are referring to the pieces of LEGO. It is however wrong to say “LEGOs”, if you are referring to the brand/company. 

And, this should be a sparate issue from how the company officially uses the term for their marketing and communication. They could have their own policies but that does not make “LEGOs” grammatically incorrect. The correct use of a word is not determined by the person who coined it.

What do you think?

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I cannot stand how people in the USA say 'legos'. drives me nuts.

it hurts my ears like say 'sheeps'.

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In New Zealand, we have always said Lego as the name of the product and system as well as the plural. In the case of Lego, unlike cars, you don't do anything with one Lego, it is the creation from a mass of Lego that is Lego. Lots of Lego bricks are Lego

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LEGOs is incorrect and makes me cringe.
When you've just opened your LEGO box and have a big piles of pieces what you have is LEGO. LEGO is the name for the whole lot. A mother will say "Put your LEGO away now Timmy".
The correct plural is LEGO pieces or pieces of LEGO or maybe if you're feeling adventurous bits.

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Really interesting points all you guys have on LEGO.
Just a small comment on a solid Danish brand from a dane. As a Dane I find it rather strange to see LEGO not in capital letters ("Lego"). But that is maybe because I know that it is a contraction of the two Danish words "Leg Godt" (play well). When written as "Lego" it looks like a word on its own, which it basically is - I know. But it is also a kind of acronym, right?

And just a fun-note on the plural debate; in Denmark the following would be normal to say:

"I bought my nephew some LEGO" or "My nephew is playing with a lot of LEGO"

("Jeg købte noget LEGO til min nevø" or "Min nevø leger med meget LEGO")

but when "we" are talking about the pieces them self, we refer to them as bricks, e.g.:

"My nephew lost five red bricks of his LEGO" (Not: "my nephew lost five red LEGO(s)")
(Min nevø misted fem røde klodser fra hans LEGO)

I know that English can adopt words in its own way, but just a fun-note to the discussion.

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I'm guessing this depends on where you're from. I was brought up in the UK. I only heard Lego used as a mass noun; I never heard anyone talk about "a Lego" or "five red Legos". Then again I can't see anything wrong with it.

Another point: I don't see why anyone needs to write LEGO in all caps, regardless of what they use in their branding. I think Lego looks much better on the page.

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I know this is an old post but really?
Ok I have 6 berry in my hand.
Wait, no I don't, I have 6 berries in my hand.
i have a whole bucket of Lincoln Log.
Wait, no I don't, I have a whole bucket of Lincoln Logs.
I own 27 Slinky.
Wait, no I don't, I own 27 Slinkies.
I have 22 Ipod.
No I don't, I have 22 Ipods.
I counted every one, and I have 127 large Band-aid.
Then I recounted and discovered I actually have 127 large Band-Aids.
I don't have enough clue to go around.
I am however giving all of my clues to all of you that don't have one.
I was actually almost expecting someone to compare lego / legos to foots hahaha.
Well maybe some of you would do better to stop grinding your tooths over all this meaningless craps, and try letting your childs see if they are any better than all these mans and womans here.
I'll send you my bill when i'm finished, but i must insist on exact currencies, which are as follow.
6 Penny
12 nickle
4 dime
12 quarter
7 dollar
and 14 twenty dollar bill.
And don't get silly like a gooses now.
We like it when you're quiet like a bunch of mouses.
And as we depart in our various aircraftses, keep in mind that they are small on space inside, and if you bring salmons it will start to stink and you'll be kicked out into the field with the sheeps.
So get your suitcase and pack your clotheses, and don't forget to double check the contentses twice.
You wouldn't wanna be caught in a strange place without all of your personal item and good.
And now, I just want to say Thank to all of yous out there that have such great understandingses of how to form plural word.
I think I will close my eye now and take a naps.

You all have a great days now you hears?

Byes fors nows

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"I cannot stand how people in the USA say 'legos'. drives me nuts.

it hurts my ears like say 'sheeps'."

You must live in an odd place if you're hearing "legos" and "sheeps" all the time...

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PCS- in your attempt at humour, you've missed the point. Completely.

LEGO is the name of the company, the product in question is LEGO bricks. Emphasis on 'bricks'. Technically you shouldn't refer to the bricks as LEGO or LEGOs either, the same as "FORDS" should really be "FORD Cars".

If you choose to call the bricks by their trade name, who's to say the collective noun isn't LEGO? It's not as if that's uncommon, or do you go past a field and shout "Look, sheeps"?.

Either way is acceptable, depending on your preference.

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Think of sheep. You see one sheep, you say "I saw a sheep".

You see multiple sheep, you don't say "I saw some sheeps" you say "I saw some sheep".

Apply that to LEGO. "I have one LEGO Brick" or "I have some LEGO". That's how this works. "Legos" doesn't sound right at all.

Unfortunately, as I'm sure people have brought up, this is an American term that seems to get tossed around a lot, and the rest of us around the world are left to wonder "what?" because it's just plain wrong. LEGO themselves have shown that it's just plain wrong.

The horrible thing is, instead of accepting that it is wrong, people who do use the term "Legos" will defend their use of it to the death. There has never been any harm in sitting down and saying "you're right, it's wrong". I've done it hundreds of times when I've been wrong. People need to accept that "Legos" is wrong, just as you wouldn't say "sheeps".

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Official word from LEGO:
http://cism.my/upload/article/201105251021250.p...

Please help us to protect our brand name:
• The LEGO brand name should always be written in capital letters
• LEGO must never be used as a generic term or in the plural or as a
possessive pronoun, e.g. “LEGO’s”.
• When the LEGO brand name is used as part of a noun, it must never
appear on its own. It should always be accompanied by a noun. For ex
ample, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group, LEGO play materials,
LEGO bricks, LEGO universe, etc.
• The fi rst time the LEGO brand name appears it must be accompanied
by the Registered symbol ®.
Thank you for helping us!
Using the LEGO brand name
Company Profi le 2009 is produced for the LEGO Group by
Corporate Communications.
©2009 The LEGO Group
LEGO, the LEGO logo, the BELVILLE logo, DUPLO, BIONICLE, MINDSTORMS,
LEGOLAND, the Minifi gure, the Brick and Knob confi gurations are trademarks of the LEGO Group.
© 2009 Lucasfi lm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. Used under authorization

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If LEGO wishes me to "protect its brand name" in my private correspondence and speech, no problem: I'm willing to accept payment to do so!

Otherwise I'll use "LEGOs" or "legos" for a plural when and as I choose, thanks.

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Um, yes it is. A backronym is created when a phrase is written after the fact to align with an already existing word. The word is the etymology for the phrase, not the other way around. I agree that "to insure promptness" is not the origin of the word tip, but since the phrase has been created to match the already existing word, well, that's the very definition of backronism.

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The acronym point is a good one that I hadn't thought of before.
Let's see... how do you pluralize an acronym?
The first three acronyms I can think of are Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation), Scuba (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), and Tip (To Insure Promptness)
People say "Lasers", but that's usually just a shortening of Laser Beams or Laser Guns or something.
People never say "Scubas". In fact, I've never heard Scuba as a noun at all! Just Scuba Gear. But you can't have more than one Scuba Gear, only Pieces of Scuba Gear! Aagh, never mind.
Tip (to clarify, this is the restaurant kind of tip) is used as a verb (I tipped my waiter 5 dollars), an adjective (I dropped my coins into the tip jar) and a noun (I left my tip on the table). I guess you could leave multiple Tips, but would it be grammatically correct? I don't know.

So I guess, out of all three, "laser" is probably the closest grammatically to LEGO. LEGOs therefore would be correct in conversation, but when writing a paper you should probably use LEGO bricks, LEGO pieces, or LEGO products.

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Ugh, won't let me use Frank35 again.

It's company name, it's company product. Sorry, I think they are well within their rights to correct people when it comes to their name and product. Lets not forget the fact LEGO is Danish in the first place, so we aren't even talking about English. LEGO comes from a Danish phrase.

Either way the companies opinion is perfectly relevant when it comes to their company name and the product they make, and the language it originated from.

What you're essentially saying it, just because Americans use the term "Legos" instead of "LEGO" which you'll probably find anyone outside of America uses when discussing LEGO (I have yet to meet anyone from anywhere but America who uses the term), it's somehow right and anything the company says won't matter, end of discussion.
That, to me, and no offence intended when I say this, is a cheap excuse to try and get away with being wrong when the term "Legos" is wrong.

You also didn't touch upon my sheep comment. We say we saw a sheep. We say we saw some sheep.

We have a LEGO brick. We have a box/tub of LEGO.

And of course it would appear the usual phrase for LEGO is LEGO from the Oxford English Dictionary, because, like I already said, "Legos" is an Americanism. The rest of the world? It's just LEGO. But like I said, Americans will defend their use of "Legos" to the death, using any weird logic they can, instead of admitting it's wrong.

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I agree, the use of a word is not determined by the person who coined it. The company could write a letter asking a newspaper to change "LEGOs" to "LEGO bricks". But I don't see any reason why the newspaper needs to make the change.

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In the US, we said Legos all the time.

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Adz,
I understand Lego wish to protect their intellectual property, but frankly they can say "you must do this" and "you must not do that" till the cows come home; it won't affect how people talk and write about their product in everyday life. People will still make things out of Lego, not "LEGO® bricks". That's just how language works; they can't dictate that.

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Pluralizing as e-mails shouldn't really upset you. If you compare electronic and paper correspondence, then you have mail and e-mail as mass nouns describing general correspondence. If you talk about individual countable pieces of mail, then for paper, you'd have a letter or letters. While you might find it unfortunate, the electronic version of letter is e-mail. so "a letter" becomes "an e-mail" and letters becomes e-mails. Sure, we could have come up with another word, but, er, we didn't. I guess e-letter never caught on.

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Goofy, just accept that the usage of the term "legos" varies depending on where you are in the world. Just as my usage of "legos" sounds odd to you, so does your usage of LEGO as a collective noun sounds odd to me. Growing up in the US, I loved legos, as did many of my friends and family, and no one ever used LEGO as a collective noun. The English language is a hairy, wild thing, and nearly every rule has an exception to it.

As far as collective and non-collective nouns go, you'd no doubt say "I have much LEGO." I'd say, "I have many Legos." I'd also say, "I stepped on several Legos on my way across my living room last night." And yeah, I'd also say, "My son has about a million Legos." =)

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From what I've gather through extensive research over the past 5 minutes LEGO is the correct collective noun everywhere in the world EXCEPT the United States. Tip is not an acronym or backronym because it has/had an existing etymology. Otherwise every word in the world could be turned into backronyms. A correct backronym is formed purposefully, not through happenstance. I've also heard To Insure Proper Service as a supposed backronym for TIPS, but this is also incorrect for the same reason.

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"tip" is not an acronym.

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kellyjohnj wrote:
> begs the question
"Begs the question" doesn't mean "to raise a question" or to "beg a question to be asked" rather it is a logical fallacy, petitio principii where the argument assumes the premise.

In symbolic logic, one might "beg the question" by writing:

P and Q imply P
where P and Q are symbols for propositions.

Here the conclusion is explicit in the premise.

Wikipedia says, "The fallacy of petitio principii, or "begging the question", is committed "when a proposition which requires proof is assumed without proof", or more generally denotes when an assumption is used, "in some form of the very proposition to be proved, as a premise from which to deduce it".

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Using a brand name as a noun isn't grammatically incorrect. But the company may specify how it likes to see the trade name used in print. So colloquially, "Hand me those LEGOs, please," is probably fine. But if you were writing in a newspaper, "The child threw five LEGOs at his friend's head," you should expect a letter from the company asking for a correction to "threw five LEGO brand bricks," or something similar.

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Wikipedia notwithstanding, most of the dictionaries and other sources I have checked say that the word itself is the backronym. Some suggest that either the word or the phrase could both be considered the backronym. And, just to play devil's advocate here, in cases like "tip", with a false etymology, does the etymology really matter? One could make a case for saying that "tip" is an acronym for "to insure promptness" regardless of its etymology. It certainly can be "...formed from the initial letters..."

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The newspaper can do what it wants.

The point of the letter is to be on record in protecting the use of the TM...preventing it from becoming genericized due to lack of policing its use.

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continued...

So that when a competitor's product in the future is referred to as LEGO by the media or in other contexts, the company has a paper trail showing that it has vigorously defended its mark over time. (Worse yet, a Chinese knock-off uses LEGO or something very close to LEGO in its branding).

That is, the letter is written to the newspaper, but it's not really about the newspaper as much as it it's about the record for the files, in case it's ever needed in the future.

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ok, i just want to say, frank35, you are telling me that because the company states some it's mandatory and we all have to do it? i'm sorry, are you f***ing serious dude. I don't care if the rest of the world uses it another way, don't tell me or anybody else how to say a word. If this were in the case of sheep where EVERYONE were of the same thought process except for a SMALL minority, then what you are saying would have credence, but keep in mind, while it may only be america, consider the population size of the US. That's no small minority, and if most people say the same damn thing then it's no issue, even if the company and the rest of the world disagrees. think of all the different uses of the english language throughout the world. People misuse and abuse words all the time. so get off your high horse and let people say the word how they want. Spelling nazi.

Also, legos legos legos legos, i love me some legos, legos are awesome, you want to play with my legoS, i just got some new legoS!!! XD

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"What you're essentially saying it, just because Americans use the term "Legos" instead of "LEGO" [...], it's somehow right and anything the company says won't matter, end of discussion."

What I'm saying is that in language, like any other field of study, you find ou how it works by examining the evidence. If a speech community uses a word a certain way, then that's the right way to use the word in that speech community. The Lego company can certainly say how they think the word should be used, but English speakers are under no obligation to follow their rules. Companies don't decide how language works, English speakers do. 

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No, the company know how their company name and product should be spoken by us, the consumer. We are under obligation to get the name of the company and the product right. It's a poor excuse to try and get out of admitting you've been using the wrong phrasing for LEGO all your life. It's a weak argument that just doesn't work.

You ignored, yet again my sheep comment. We say we saw a sheep. We say we saw some sheep.

We say we have a LEGO brick. We say we have some LEGO. You want to talk about how English speakers decide how the language works, but you seem to forget how the English language does work, and you're just making up your own rules as you go to try and justify being wrong.

The fact also remains that LEGO is not English in the first place, it is Dutch, and comes from the Danish phrase "leg godt", which means "play well". You remove the entire point of the name by using the incorrect phrasing.

So whether you like it or not, the company is right and well within their rights to tell anyone who uses the ridiculous term "Legos" that they are wrong, because it is wrong. It's English user arrogance that tries to justify their wrong useage with weak arguments. Especially when we're not even discussing English in the first place, we're discussing Dutch.

But I'm sure you'll ignore my sheep comment, yet again, and ramble on how it's the English speakers who apparently make up their own rules even when it's wrong.

Christ, I've never heard such a weak argument to try justify wrong useage of a phrase in my life.

Either way, this is the end of our discussion. "Legos" is wrong, whether you like it or not. There's a reason why "Legos" isn't even in the dictionary, or on the company site, and why the rest of the world but America do not use the term. Because the company name, product is "LEGO", plain and simple, and it comes from a Dutch phrase.

Try and justify your wrong useage all you want, it'll never be right.

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Goofy, allow me to take up the gauntlet on your behalf. Frank35, in "we saw some sheep", the word "sheep" is an irregular plural. On the other hand, in "we have some LEGO", the word LEGO is not plural at all. It is a mass noun, and is still singular. Thus, your analogy doesn't hold up.

Even if it did, it would still be irrelevant. There are a few nonstandard plurals like sheep, moose, fish, deer, etc., but there are many, many more that are standard: car/cars, house/houses, sock/socks, etc. The existence of a few nonstandard plurals has nothing to do with how other words should be pluralized. Are you suggesting that pluralizing by adding -s should be completely eliminated from the English language? If not, then what's your point exactly?

Do note, I'm not debating the correctness of "legos" as a plural (for now). I'm simply addressing your "sheep" comment.

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Also, irregular plurals, irregular verbs, etc., are usually [always?] ancient words whose forms have been passed down for generations, possibly from our language's early origins. New words rarely [never?] use irregular forms for their prototypes.

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The use of "LEGOs" (or, for that matter, "Legos") to describe more than one piece of LEGO is fine.

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Gee, sorry I opened up such a can of worms! How funny, but according to their official use of terms, you are right! And now, we know.

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With the exception of Americans on the internet I have never heard anyone use the word legos. It sounds odd to me.

Would you actually say I'm playing with my Legos? Pleaase hand me those legos?

That seems so wrong, here in the UK we say, I'm playing with my lego. Please hand me those lego pieces.

But what about people from other countries?

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You wouldn't say 'bags of flours' or 'a herd of sheeps'

IT"S 'LEGO', ALWAYS JUST 'LEGO'. THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS 'LEGOS'.

Piles of Lego, a bit of Lego, all my Lego. Get it?

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I am not inclined to investigate whether LEGO should be in caps or not, but I don't see a problem with referring to them in the plural by adding an "s." I agree with the intellectual property argument. Brand names are often the victims of their own success, right? If a brand name is very successful, it becomes necessary for the competition to adopt that brand name to describe their own product, or no one will know what they are selling, or at the very least why they'd refer to it with some lame-sounding alternative. So even with a paper trail, I think it's up in the air what a court would decide. In the course of emails, I like the question, but I think the train has left the station. We could have referred to email messages, email letters, electronic letters, etc. from the beginning. But we didn't and now we are stuck with emails for now. We see the official term electronic correspondence used in a legal or regulatory/bureaucratic context, but it always begs the question in my mind, wasn't it just an email, or was it really some esoteric computer system to which only Big Brother has access?

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There is no "right" or "wrong" on it, honestly. There is the preferred usage by the company "LEGO" for the collective noun. You can say that is correct or you can say that it is what it is ... a preferred usage to ensure a trademark.

The way people differ in using it seems to be entirely based upon how they view the item, it seems. But I think the reason Americans use LEGOs rather than the collective noun is because we shorten things. For instance:

So far everyone has been saying, "LEGO brick/s" "LEGO piece/s" "LEGO set/s" and so on and apparently we can agree on that. Everyone above has said that's fine, at least. And each time the modifier to LEGO is pluralized by an "s".

"LEGO brick" / "LEGO bricks". Obviously the "s" changes the singular "brick" to "bricks". So, Americans dropped "brick" altogether, deciding to refer to each brick as LEGO, and carried the "s" over as a plural substitution. We don't see a "LEGO brick" necessarily; we see a "LEGO". When we use the word "LEGO" we are implying "brick". Thus, when we say "LEGOs" what we're implying are "LEGO bricks".

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Goofy, perhaps tip is not an acronym, but definitely a backronym. By the way, I've also heard it as "to insure perfection".

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Speaking of vehicles, do you say Ford Focuses or Foci? The latter always sounded a bit off to me.

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Focuses. As for the plural of Lexus, I can't imagine I'll ever be in that financial league.

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@Capitan Typo - in the spirit of the goodwill you have so generously fostered, and in respect for curmudgeons everywhere, including me sometimes, I'll try and refrain from making valid points in the future. Well, until I make my next comment anyway.

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Perhaps it was one of the Lego mini-figures that kicked off the term 'Legos' ?. His legs were zapped off by Darth Vader's Light Saber . . .and he told everyone in Legoland that he had lost his little Legos! lol.

Theo - http://www.piecemonkey.com

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Some parts of the world, like Finland, will happily accept the American English style. In Finnish we talk about Legos (meaning Lego-bricks, also used by the largest newspaper) and also about Donald Ducks when referring to the most popular comic books.

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Think of sheep. You see one sheep, you say "I saw a sheep".

You see multiple sheep, you don't say "I saw some sheeps" you say "I saw some sheep".

Apply that to LEGO. "I have one LEGO Brick" or "I have some LEGO". That's how this works. "Legos" doesn't sound right at all.

Unfortunately, as I'm sure people have brought up, this is an American term that seems to get tossed around a lot, and the rest of us around the world are left to wonder "what?" because it's just plain wrong. LEGO themselves have shown that it's just plain wrong.

The horrible thing is, instead of accepting that it is wrong, people who do use the term "Legos" will defend their use of it to the death. There has never been any harm in sitting down and saying "you're right, it's wrong". I've done it hundreds of times when I've been wrong. People need to accept that "Legos" is wrong, just as you wouldn't say "sheeps".

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Although for me Lego is uncountable, I fully accept JMick's point about different customs in different places. And goofy is right to point out that what the company says is neither here nor there when it comes to everyday usage. Remember how Google complained when the OED listed the eponymous verb as being a general term for searching the internet using any search engine, not just Google - do any of us bother with that?

But I wonder if this happens with any other kit names, for example Meccano - 'How many Meccanos did you use to make that bridge?' - sounds a bit weird to me.

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Frank35, when it comes to language, we determine what is "right" by looking at how the language is used. If everyone says "Legos" then "Legos" is the plural form. The company's opinion is irrelevant.

Having said that, I think the most usual plural is "Lego", at least according to the OED.

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“No, the company know how their company name and product should be spoken by us, the consumer. We are under obligation to get the name of the company and the product right.”

What obligation is this? Is there a law? Companies try to enforce how their trademarks are used, but it doesn't work - for instance “kleenex”.

“The fact also remains that LEGO is not English in the first place, it is Dutch, and comes from the Danish phrase "leg godt", which means "play well".”

It was borrowed from Danish, but it's an English word. The claim that it should be used a certain way because of its history is the etymological fallacy.

You say that “Lego” has a zero plural, like “sheep”. However, in my dialect “lego” is a mass noun, like “water”. I would say “one piece of Lego, two pieces of Lego”, not “one Lego, two Lego/Legos”.

“But I'm sure you'll ignore my sheep comment, yet again, and ramble on how it's the English speakers who apparently make up their own rules even when it's wrong.”

So if every English speaker on Earth starts to say “legos”, it's still wrong because of someone’s opinion about how the word should be used?

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Thanks, porsche, you said it better than I could. I'll add that the test for mass nouns is: can you put a number in front of it? Take "furniture", a textbook mass noun. We don't say "one furniture, two furnitures", we have to use a counting word, like "one piece of furniture, two pieces of furniture". The same with "Lego".

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I have a pet peeve about the use of email, which like cattle and mail is a collective noun. One neither speaks of cattles or of mails, but we regularly speak of emails. Somehow this annoys me but I haven't figured out why. I always try to say, "email MESSAGE" and "email messages". ... I wonder whether this should be a submission to this list or a comment in this place.

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For some reason, I can't use my original screenname. Doh!

Warsaw, good point about different sets. I had some toys called Construx when I was a kid, and I never called them "Construces" or something weird like that. I think the difference with Lego is how ubiquitous they are. I live in Hong Kong now, and there are Lego-building classes advertised everywhere.

It's like pes' point earlier about Band-aid bandages. If my son scrapes his knee, I ask him if he wants a band-aid. If he has several scrapes, I might have to put two or three band-aids on him. Band-aid started out as a brandname, and it's evolved to the point where it's used as a common noun. The Lego company doesn't want that to happen to it's brand (some of their international trademarks have already expired), and thus they engage in their campaign to dictate how we use the word "Lego." (Here's one story about how Lego has failed to keep the trademark on their design - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/... - even though that design was borrowed/stolen from another company before Lego bought that company - http://www.cracked.com/article_20025_5-world-fa... )

We're getting into the difference between prescriptive and descriptive definitions. Generally, dictionaries are descriptive in that they describe how a word is used in a particular language. If enough people start using Lego as a common noun, that usage will be reflected in a dictionary like the OED. The Lego company, however, is aiming to be prescriptive, to control the word's meaning and usage. In language, that's like plugging your finger into a dam's wall and hoping you can prevent a flood.

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This is a pet peeve for me too. The problem stems from people's belief that a single LEGO brick is a LEGO. This misconception is common in the US where I now live. These same people would look at you strangely if you talked about building a toy log cabin from Lincolns, as opposed to the correct term: Lincoln logs.
Use of LEGO to refer to a collection of LEGO bricks/pieces isn't strictly correct either although it hurts less to hear, - it is simply a contraction of the formal description "LEGO set", "LEGO pieces", or some such.

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How about say lego bricks as that is proper way or to reffer to a group of lego. I love my lego bricks i knew this when i was 4 and i don't care what grammar says. Yes i changed from duplo blocks(yeah i know as of late these are bricks to but weren't when i was a kid) to lego bricks earlier then recommended as a child. It doesn't change fact it i bought a box of lego bricks.

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Actually lego being the plural form is absolutely 100% correct for this product, Lego is no the name of each individual piece, it is the name given to the set or range of objects, each individual piece is "a piece of lego".

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No, it's not a backronym either. The OED says its from thieves cant, ultimate origin unknown.

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No, it's not a backronym either. The OED says its from thieves cant, ultimate origin unknown.

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OK, I see. But "tip" isn't the backronym, "to insure promptness" is the backronym.

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Sorry for being late to the party, but I'd just like to say that LEGO is like toast.

Two slices of toast, not two toasts. Two pieces of LEGO, not two LEGOs.

And can I just quietly rant and rave at the suggestion that "tip" could be an acronym (or backronym) for "To insure promptness"? Leaving a tip would hopefully ensure promptness, not insure. To ensure is to make sure something happens. To insure is to protect yourself against the possibility that something may, or may not (as the case may be), happen.

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I whole heartedly agree with the comment about
Two slices of toast, not two toasts. Two pieces of LEGO, not two LEGOs.
Nevertheless, there is a contingent in the United States who will say, "I picked up two cottage cheeses" rather than "I picked up two packages of cottage cheese," and who will not be bothered by "two toasts". It's annoying but I bite my tongue, and rant here.

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Does the etymology really matter?? Tsk tsk...

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@Warsaw Wil: that's a very good point about the purpose and use of a dictionary, so please stop making valid points and leave me to my curmudgeonly prejudice.

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This has been a fun thread... My comment is-- as an American, I think we will see the use of legos continue in the States. Whadda'hell -- we do whatever we want anyway. It is very common to hear a mother say,' Put your legos away, dear, it's time for supper." Proper or not, it is firmly in the language now and I don't see it going away any time soon. It will be another of those things that writers can use to 'place' a story- like 'bloody' will set a tale in England.
And we have plenty of examples of brand names going astray-- we zerox papers, use saran wrap, apply a band-aid... LEGO is just another word for us to mangle and misuse with blithe indifference. The rest of the world may have to accept the fact we are this way. American English was never about rules anyway....

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This whole conversation brings to mind one of my favourite sayings:

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, not everyone is entitled to their own facts"

Any word like LEGOES, LEGOS, LEGOs, or any attempt to pluralise the brand name LEGO is WRONG. It's grammatically wrong, and it's wrong according to the company who own the brand name.

In many circumstances there may be a social convention of dropping the noun and pluralising the brand name, such as BMWs or any other brna dname that does not actually name their product with the branded name. This convention, no matter how widely accepted and used, is not correct. It may have fallen into common useage, but it would not be used in any formal or official document where correctness of grammar is required, and is therefore WRONG.

So pluralise LEGO all you want, enjoy the sound of the word, let it roll off your tongue daily, just don't try to argue that it is grammatically correct,

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@Captain Typo,

First, Lego's demands that people use Lego bricks is ignorant of the fact that only a small fraction of the pieces are, in fact, bricks. There is an array of pieces that does not include the iconic brick. There is a possibility for Lego pieces.

Even so, I will refuse to accept what they have prescribed.

Additionally, to say that,

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, not everyone is entitled to their own facts."

is ludicrous considering the subject being English because of how it, and other languages, evolve. You still don't speak Anglo-Saxon do you? Or do you still you use thee, thou, thy, and thine? Or the noun suffixes that are attached when matched with certain verbs?

If you believe the rules of stranding prepositions and splitting the infinitive, then you are only following prescriptions and are unable to discern the Germanic roots of the English language.

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@Captain Typo - I generally like your favourite saying, but would suggest:

1) What the brand-owner wants is neither here nor there in a language sense, only in a legal sense. You can Google with whatever search engine you like, and (in Britain at least) do the hoovering with whatever vacuum cleaner you like.

2) Although I wouldn't personally pluralise LEGO, I think that has more to do with whether or not LEGO is a countable noun. I can't see how you can make a blanket rule that it is grammatically incorrect to pluralise brand names, which are simply proper nouns, and which can be pluralised like any other countable noun:

Who's coming to the party? - Well, there are the two Johns, then there's Jenny ....
He's got two Fords and three Harley-Davidsons
He has an excellent collection of maps of the Americas

3) And even if you couldn't do this in formal documents, for some inexplicable reason, it really is an old chestnut that only what is permissible in formal grammar is "correct". If that were the case, most of us would be talking ungrammatically much of the time, which makes a nonsense of the whole idea of grammar, which is simply the system we use to form words and put them together so we can be mutually understood.

4) 'It may have *fallen* into common usage' - Common usage is exactly how the rules of languages are formed and evolve.

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I would have argued the case, but I just read that the Oxford Dictionary will now include 'OMG' - so I give up.

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@Capitan Typo - What is the job of a dictionary if not to tell people the meanings of words and expressions they hear or see and might not know? Like it or not, a sizeable number of speakers of Standard English say OMG, and it appears a lot on the web; it's even in a billboard advertisement here in Poland. Although many people treat the OED as the 'bible', it never itself set out to be the arbiter of usage; that's what usage guides do (if you really want that sort of thing).

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Warsaw Will: do you really hear people *say* (as opposed to just writing) OMG?
But yes I agree with you about the job of a dictionary, although it should probably lag behind actual usage by a few years because some words/expressions turn out to be passing fads.
I'd say OMG and LOL are common currency now.

I also agree that the pluralization (or not) of Lego hinges on whether it's a mass noun or a countable noun (this would seem to depend on what part of the world you live in), and the whole brand name thing is really a red herring.

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Hi Chris B - Probably only on TV comedy programmes, to be honest. But you're right, I no doubt see it a lot more than I hear it. As for LOL, perhaps if the British PM, David Cameron, had checked this in a dictionary or wherever, he might not have made the gaffe of using it to sign off an email (as Lots of Love).

And as I personally never use these things, it's useful for me to be able to look them up as well. Although there are plenty of alternatives to the OED, which I don't have access to, anyway. For example, I only recently found out what the use of asterisks (as you've done with *say*) means. I had to look that one up. VBut I don't suppose it's in any dictionaries yet.

Point taken about the time lag, but with the OED (and no doubt most dictionaries) probably going online only, I'm not sure this will be so important, and it depends on how widely used it is. I seem to remember that 'podcast' was one dictionary's 'Word of the year' almost within a year of appearing.

I also think you're right about the part of the world thing - I think LEGOs is a mainly American usage.

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I am Canadian. Me and my friends have always called it "Lego". Most Americans seem to say "Legos". I think the difference is how we see it. I see it as a game called Lego, not a bunch of individual pieces. For this reason, "I want to play Legos" is no less correct than saying, "I want to play Monopolies". It's an ongoing debate that may never be solved.

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BMW is an initialism which stands for Bavarian Motor Works. Whether you were trying to say Bavarian Motor Works' or Bavarian Motor Works's, the initialism remains BMW.

Porches is cool, though.

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It really doesn't matter. Everywhere else in the English speaking world, Lego is a collective noun. In America they say legos, which sounds stupid and childish to everyone else. But it doesn't to them. So live and let live. Laugh if you like, but it's their common usage so it's not wrong in an American context. I like American English anyway. Try winningest. You'd never use it but it brings me joy that this weird exists somewhere.

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That should have been word, of course! Maybe my predictive text making its own qualitative judgement :-)

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I would say “LEGOs” is perfectly fine if you are referring to the pieces of LEGO. It is however wrong to say “LEGOs”, if you are referring to the brand/company.

http://www.legoluv.com/plural-for-lego/

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The reason why the plural works for a Mac or a BMW is because the product is called the company name, e.g 1 BMW, 2 BMWs. So you can say, "there are multiple BMW's" because the singular is called a BMW. This is not the case with LEGO, LEGO is the company name yes but one piece of LEGO is called "a piece of LEGO" not "a LEGO" you wouldn't say "could you pass me a LEGO?" but would say "could you pass me a piece of LEGO" therefore the plural is technically "2 pieces of LEGO" not "2 LEGOs". You can say "could you pass me the LEGO" referring to the entire product but if you were talking about individual pieces, LEGO's is incorrect.
There is no discussion, or debate, it's just English.

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I think you should say, "a LEGO piece". There is something that makes me uncomfortable about "a piece of LEGO" but I have not been able to define exactly what.
Further, "BMW's" is possessive. The plural form that you correctly used in another place is "BMWs".
I agree with your analysis is otherwise.

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What does "sparate" mean?
Legos is a place.

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Adjective.....

Proper Use of the LEGO Trademark on a Web Site
If the LEGO trademark is used at all, it should always be used as an adjective, not as a noun. For example, say "MODELS BUILT OF LEGO BRICKS". Never say "MODELS BUILT OF LEGOs".Also, the trademark should appear in the same typeface as the surrounding text and should not be isolated or set apart from the surrounding text. In other words, the trademarks should not be emphasized or highlighted. Finally, the LEGO trademark should always appear with a ® symbol each time it is used.

Source : http://aboutus.lego.com/en-us/legal-notice/fair...

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@T_reason

Your argument is, I believe, a non-sequitur. You state that x of y is correct plural (to take your example bags of flour), when the question asks for whether Legos, or Legoes(?), is an incorrect plural. But what about these kinds of things? Would you say that is wrong? It sounds pretty natural to me. Although pieces of Lego might be suitable substitution, I think the focus is on having a plural without a prepositional phrase, thus Legos/es.

Saying that "THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS 'LEGOS'." is a particularly bad argument because words get added here and there, some that people, myself included, object to. But to further illustrate the absurdity of the statement, if Shakespeare had never added and created new words from other languages, most of our vocabulary, wordstock for those proponents of Anglish, and idioms would never have existed.

Besides, Legos is a very innocuous word.

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Edit: Sentences 3 through 5 should be removed because they are erroneous.

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The correct plural of Porsches (sic) is Porsche. The web-writer that wrote that on Porsche's website should be sacked. It's sloppy writing.

The correct plural of Legos (sic) is Lego, it is a collective noun. Legos is an American colloquialism that in my opinion, as a professional writer, should not be used in print.

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@T_reason - if there was (were for subjunctive freaks) no such word as legos, this discussion wouldn't be taking place. The fact that a lot of people use it, including people like the LA Times and NPR, has, by definition, made it a word. How else would you describe it?

http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-f...

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2013/06/28/1...

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What about "How many weetabixes did you have for breakfast?" or "I had quite a lot of Dinkies when I was young" (Dinky cars). I think I'd say the first but probably not the second.

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As I've told my friend, Lego is a contraction of two Danish words "leg godt (play well)"=>lego. A verb being changed into a proper noun. If the Danes are allowed to contract words and change the lexical category of them, then we have the right to do what we wish with that word.

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*Remove "being"

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