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LEGO vs legos

bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 294
edited January 2012 in Everything else LEGO
I don't know why, for some reason I can't help to see 'Legos' as incorrect when referring to the plural of Lego. In fact, when I talk/write about Lego, a single piece to me is a *piece* of Lego (or a Lego brick), the plural of which is pieces of Lego. The collective noun (?) to me is *Lego*, as in a box of Lego, as opposed to a box of Legos.

I'm not having a go at anyone,of course, I just find it interesting that many people use *Legos*, while others use *Lego*. Is there an official way to say it? Lego style guide or something?

BTW, I'm no expert when it comes to spelling, grammar, or language (although I'll fight for the serial/Oxford comma till the death ;)
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Comments

  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,554
    Lego used to print a little statement regarding this topic on the old pamphlet catalogs that came in larger sets. Basically, they said that Lego is the brand name and Legos is incorrect usage. Lego, Lego bricks, Lego blocks or Lego toys are all correct; Legos is not.
    tedwardzipsforbananas
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 1,766
    Unless you live in the U.S as I do.
    The_Mad_Vulcan
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,554
    Unless you live in the U.S as I do.
    Pardon? Not all Americans have subpar language skills. :-P

    tedwardBrickman
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 1,766
    I was referring to the other discussion in another thread. But, still to me it doesn't matter. As long as you don't call them MB.
  • jwsmartjwsmart Member Posts: 298
    edited July 2011
    @prof1515 - They still publish something like that, but it's online now (the link to the PDF is busted), and aimed at fan sites: http://aboutus.lego.com/en-us/corporate/fairplay.aspx
    Worth a read if you've never read it before.
    @bkpr - I think the answer to your original question is under "Proper Use of the LEGO Trademark on a Web Site "
  • TalasAntaresTalasAntares Member Posts: 124
    I understand how I'm supposed to name them, but since I've been a little kid they've always been "legos" to me. Old habits of sentimentality die hard. :-p
  • war44lockwar44lock Member Posts: 75
    Its a small pet peeve of mine too. I have always called it Lego and I kinda really don't like the word "Legos" it just seems a bit wrong to me. That said its a minor thing really, each to there own.
  • bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 294
    @jwsmart good link. Plenty of info, and it's good to see the company allow scanning of instructions and other bit n bobs for 'exchange of information' and 'good faith commentary'.
  • war44lockwar44lock Member Posts: 75
    edited July 2011
    Yeah I just read that info too, interesting and fair enough I think. When I do a search on Trade me.co.NZ for lego I always get a heap of MB's and also this "Enlighten" crap coming up, really annoys me and I have complained to Trade me but they ignored me. Maybe I should let Lego know about it? The thing is the seller of the Enlighten product calls it "Lego type bricks"
  • gruetzmacherdgruetzmacherd USA, WIMember Posts: 30
    edited July 2011
    Technically, Lego is also incorrect. It is correctly spelled LEGO.

    So, as you talk about LEGO bricks, be sure to capitalize the word LEGO as you speak it. :)
  • Bluefox1966Bluefox1966 UKMember Posts: 343
    so would you spell LEGOs like this or this LEGOS.
  • StuBoyStuBoy New ZealandMember Posts: 623
    @war44lock I hate that too! I've mentioned it to a couple of sellers in the questions, only one changed their listing to state that they were, in fact, Mega Bloks, not LEGO. But those knock-offs listed under LEGO grate me just as much.
  • bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 294
    As well as talking in CAPITALS, you must utter the ® symbol the first time you use it in that conversation. According to the company profile available from the LEGO website…

    • 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 example, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group, LEGO play materials, LEGO bricks, LEGO universe, etc.
    • The first time the LEGO brand name appears it must be accompanied by the registered symbol ®

    :)
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    edited July 2011
    so would you spell LEGOs like this or this LEGOS.
    Well, if you were following the guidelines, you wouldn't put an 's' on the end at all. I started a bit of a kerfuffle a while back in another discussion when I picked someone up on this and I think the general consensus was that in the UK we like to follow the first two rules:

    • 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”.


    but rarely follow the last two:

    • 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 example, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group, LEGO play materials, LEGO bricks, LEGO universe, etc.
    • The first time the LEGO brand name appears it must be accompanied by the registered symbol ®


    Whereas in the US, you grew up with sticking an 's' on the end and it's generally much more accepted.

    I guess here in the forum we just need to live and let live (and grind our teeth silently when someone spells it the 'wrong' way ;o)
  • BrickBugBrickBug Member Posts: 14
  • war44lockwar44lock Member Posts: 75
    @stuboy I actually sent Lego an e-mail about it today, we'll see what happens there. Oh and good luck with the Imperial Trading Post haha I couldn't believe all those sets came up at the same time! I can't decide what I'm gonna go for but I promise I'll leave that one alone for ya : )
  • UKver2UKver2 Member Posts: 13
    edited July 2011
    Pardon? Not all Americans have subpar language skills. :-P
    Well I do (have subpar language skills, that is). Perhaps you could educate me a bit. What would be linguistically incorrect in calling them "Legos"? I mean, I acknowledge that The LEGO® Group has its guidelines and as a fan I'll do my part to support their wishes, but your comment suggests that there is a linguistic basis for not calling them "Legos". Could you help me understand that better?
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,554
    Which of the following would you say?

    "I'm going to drink two cans of Cokes."
    or
    "I'm going to drink two cans of Coke."
    tedward
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 7,828
    edited July 2011
  • UKver2UKver2 Member Posts: 13
    I would say the second of the two choices: "I'm going to drink two cans of Coke." If I were ordering for myself and one other person, though, I would say, "We'll take two Cokes."

    My linguistic skills are not great, I admit, but my skill for researching these rules is even worse. What rule, exactly, am I breaking when I say "Cokes" in my above sentence?
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 1,766
  • warrenelsmorewarrenelsmore Member Posts: 77
    @UKver2 - no rule as such, but if you say 'legos' in Billund you'll get some very dirty looks!

    Basically, the thing is your hand is a brick made by the LEGO company - ie a LEGO brick(element/piece/thing). It was never 'a lego' so in plural would never be 'legos'. Similarly with a LEGO set, LEGO storage unit, LEGO business card etc etc

    I've got lots of (non-AFOL) US friends who I must have brow beaten so much with this that they're now proudly telling all their kids how to say it correctly :-D And they are now telling their friends too! It does seem though that it's only the US that use the word 'legos'. Everyone I know from any other country has always said it 'correctly'.

    Does it really matter that much? I guess not. Though if you pronounced my companies' name wrong I guess I'd be a little upset too....
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    ^ spot on Warren, if you follow rule 4:

    • 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 example, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group, LEGO play materials, LEGO bricks, LEGO universe etc

    Then the noun can be a plural but LEGO can't, but I guess because people rarely follow the rule above, it causes an issue.
  • legohairlegohair Member Posts: 41
    edited July 2011
    I always say LEGO (it sends a shiver with an 's') and I always write it in capitals (apart from in my profile name, which I've just noticed!).

    But I was always told capitals were for acronyms only, ie. where each letter stands for a word (like IKEA stands for 'Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnary'). But, as we know, each letter in LEGO doesn't stand for an individual word, so why the capitals? Is it just a stylistic convention like iPhone and eBay, or something more?
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    ^ It stands for 'leg godt' which means 'play well'. No idea why it's capitalised.
  • legohairlegohair Member Posts: 41
    edited July 2011
    Yeah, as I said, I know that! (Hopefully we all know that!) :P
    But, as we know, each letter in LEGO doesn't stand for an individual word
    All I wondered was why, then, it was still capitalised... Perhaps we'll never know. One of life's tiny mysteries...
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,554
    Lego, or more appropriately LEGO, is a brand and as such it's an adjective. You don't pluralize an adjective, you pluralize the noun to which it's attached.
  • war44lockwar44lock Member Posts: 75
    I think it's in capitals so it stands out on a page. I really think it's just a minor marketing thing. Makes it look more important than the other words around it. Which of course it is : )
  • RavenhookRavenhook Member Posts: 70
    LEGO is capitalised because the company decided that's the way the word - and the branding it represented - should look. (As suggested above, it was probably to let a short word stand out more.)

    It's like iPod.

    For many years, you saw the media write I-pod, Ipod, ipod, etc. Phonetically, they're all correct, but simply not as it should be written. When you do see it written like that, the reader assumes ignorance.

    As to the plural form, you don't say "sheeps" so you shouldn't say "legos" unless you are a sheep!
  • bkprbkpr Texas, USAMember Posts: 294
    ^ Sheep/sheeps is not the best examplebecause they are the same when singular and plural, and they are nouns (like fish too). You say 'a fish' and 'a sheep', but you don't say 'a lego'. You say 'a piece of lego', or 'a lego piece' (technically).

    As the originator of this discussion, I'd like to say that while 'Legos' irks me a little, I'm not yelling at anyone to say it correctly. My new years' resolution for 2011 was to stop brabbling. As long as we understand each other it all works out.

    Fun discussion though.
  • MartinMartin Member Posts: 371
    I don't understand the confusion here. The word LEGO is a registered trademark. The LEGO Company decided how it should be written and they trademarked it...exactly as Apple did with iPod, iPhone etc.

    As Warren stated, the brick you hold is exactly that, a product manufactured by LEGO. It's a LEGO brick. Not a LEGO.

  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Administrator Posts: 4,401
    I think we Americans all got confused after the "LEGGO my EGGO" waffle ads from our youth. :o)
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 5,590
    ^^ We had the sheeps/non-countable noun discussion a while ago: http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/537/affol/p1.

    I consider it a non-countable noun, although I appreciate that's at odds with LEGO's third guideline. So I will say "I'm going to play with LEGO" but never "I'm going to play with LEGOs" or "I'm going to play with LEGO bricks"

  • mkoeselmkoesel USAMember Posts: 93
    edited July 2011
    Lego, or more appropriately LEGO, is a brand and as such it's an adjective. You don't pluralize an adjective, you pluralize the noun to which it's attached.
    Just like any word, a brand name may have different parts of speech depending on context. "Have some Coke products." - adjective. "Have a Coke." - noun. The fact is, the Coca-cola company has used both in their advertising or other marketing materials. The LEGO Group does not happen to use both (nor do they wish others to). But there's nothing about the word itself that expressly makes this so.
  • UKver2UKver2 Member Posts: 13
    Lego, or more appropriately LEGO, is a brand and as such it's an adjective. You don't pluralize an adjective, you pluralize the noun to which it's attached.
    I haven't been able to confirm this. Everywhere I look I see that brand names are considered proper nouns that can be used as proper adjectives. I think you are right that adjectives don't get pluralized -- I can't think of a single case. Proper nouns can be pluralized, though. Right?

    I know it's an often criticized source, but the Wikipedia article for "proper nouns" has a section for pluralizing them. It uses Toyota as an example (Toyota builds Toyotas). It says (without source), "Such usage is often prescriptively limited to colloquial or informal-writing registers, although linguistically it is just as "correct" as any formal-register usage."
    I don't understand the confusion here...

    As Warren stated, the brick you hold is exactly that, a product manufactured by LEGO. It's a LEGO brick. Not a LEGO.

    As far as whether the thing in your hand is a LEGO, I can think of a many products that are referred to this way. My computer is made by Dell. It is not a Dell, it is a computer. Yet, it is often referred to as "a Dell." My car, incidentally, is "a Toyota." You never use this manner when speaking?

    Is this never done outside of America?

    And as far as confusion goes, the only part that confuses me is what linguistic rule is being broken. According to Warren, there is no such rule. If that is the case, why would a person's language skills be considered "subpar" if they referred to LEGO toys as Legos? Not in step with The LEGO Group thought police*, that I can see. But subpar language skills?


    *meant only as a joke -- If I were running a website dedicated to LEGO, I would be happy to comply with any formatting requests from Billund (especially in exchange for their generously allowing use of their images etc.)
  • warrenelsmorewarrenelsmore Member Posts: 77
    @UKver2 -

    >>Is this never done outside of America?
    I think it varies hugely. I drive a Volkswagen Polo. But I look for the 'keys to my car', not the 'keys to my polo'. But I did look for 'the keys to my TT' when I had an Audi TT!!

    I think it also depends on what you call is a 'rule'. Is it US English grammar, UK English grammer, Danish grammer (which is a whole different kettle of fish) etc etc? There's certainly no statue of law anywhere that would tell you to say either thing, so I wouldn't consider it 'subpar'

    As far as I'm concerned, the LEGO company would like me to call them LEGO bricks, so I do. No other reason!
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 7,828
    Do you think I will be outcast by the community should I continue with what comes naturally and refer to my collection as LEGO rather than LEGO sets or LEGO bricks? Tonight I will go home and play with my LEGO.
  • princedravenprincedraven Essex, UKMember Posts: 3,735
    Blimey, can't believe this is still rumbling on..... :)
    I have to say I don't really care too much whether it is Lego or LEGO or how many sheep drink coke whilst driving their VW Polo and if so whether they should be considered sheeps drinking cokes in the Polos.

    As @flump6523 says, I just plan on building my LEGO sets with my LEGO bricks :)
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,554
    edited July 2011
    Context, people. My comment about "subpar language skills" was in response to the post that said "Unless you live in the U.S. as I do". The author of that post clarified that he was responding to something in another thread (as to why he was responding in this thread, I won't ask).

    That said, Americans' language skills are horrible regardless of the level of education that some of them receive. I recall an incident my senior year when I found a paper written by a girl I knew, a senior elementary education major. She'd accidently left it in the library and since I lived in the same building I figured I'd drop it off in her mailbox on my way back home. I don't recall what distracted me but I forgot and about a week later I ran across the paper still in the folder I'd placed it in after finding it. Figuring that by now she'd either have printed another copy or rewritten it (it was only two pages long), I decided to toss it. However, I was bored so I pulled out my red pen and sat down to critique it. Egad, I have never seen writing such as what was on those two pages. Almost three dozen errors on the first page alone ranging from spelling to grammar and such illogical arguments that I was prompted to make a comment to a friend later that "I hope she ends up teaching the second grade because she has a third grade education." It was beyond horrible. As my English 102 professor once wrote in the margin of a student's paper, "How the hell did you get out of the third grade?"

    Of course, American illiteracy doesn't merely pertain to writing. Back in late 2002 or early 2003 a study was released which indicated that as many as 25% of Americans were incapable of reading a product label much less a newspaper and that another 25% would have trouble filling out a long form or application.

    Early last year a report from an international education NGO ranked nations' education levels based on a combination of factors such as literacy as well as economic potential. The United States, one of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations in the history of the world with a plethora of resources at our citizens' disposal, ranked near the absolute bottom of the list. Third World nations where many of their people don't even have schools ranked higher than the United States. When you look at people like Sarah ("refudiate") Palin it's not hard to see that studies like this are accurate. We're a nation with unparalleled opportunity to advance the education of our people and yet we have a significant portion of our population which is ignorant beyond belief. However, they're not just content to remain ignorant. They're actually proud of it. It's shameful and embarassing.

    Back on topic, LEGO created their name and would be the ultimate authority on its usage. If they say "Legos" is incorrect then so it is. It's not necessarily something that you have to jump on and correct when you hear others say it but you can at least mind yourself.
  • UKver2UKver2 Member Posts: 13
    Tonight I will go home and play with my LEGO.
    I've changed from saying "Legos" to saying "LEGO bricks," "LEGO toys," etc., but this wording initially strikes me as you will be going home tonight to play with one LEGO brick. Sad. Heheh.

    I wonder, what does "Legos" sound like outside of America (or to people in America who think "Legos" sounds funny)? Is it initially taken as "LEGO's" as if the speaker was in the middle of saying "I will go home and play with LEGO's new online viseo game," but the one saying it stopped short? Do you find yourselves thinking, "LEGO's what? Their toys? Their video game?"
  • UKver2UKver2 Member Posts: 13
    Context, people. My comment about "subpar language skills" was in response to the post that said "Unless you live in the U.S. as I do". The author of that post clarified that he was responding to something in another thread (as to why he was responding in this thread, I won't ask).
    I guess I took it as:
    prof1515: Lego, Lego bricks, Lego blocks or Lego toys are all correct; Legos is not.
    oldtodd33: Unless you live in the U.S as I do.
    prof1515: Pardon? Not all Americans have subpar language skills.

    ...which to me would be you saying that saying "Legos" equates to having subpar language skills. Your comment was made before he clarified that he was commenting on another thread.

    I agree with the rest of what you wrote, but I'm still not understanding the "subpar language skills" comment.
  • acedogg77acedogg77 Member Posts: 110
    I burnt my bacons while reading all this.=/
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,554
    edited July 2011
    I agree with the rest of what you wrote, but I'm still not understanding the "subpar language skills" comment.
    I thought his comment meant that because he was in the U.S. proper use of the English language somehow didn't matter, an attitude that too many Americans possess. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard people defend their poor use of English via the criticism of proper English as "nobody talks like that" (or "nobdy rights like that" as one particularly ignorant fellow once argued).
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,269
    edited July 2011
    oldtodd33 was referring to this discussion: http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/537/affol/p1

    If you don't care enough to read it (and I don't blame you), the AFFOL discussion devolves into a discussion about LEGO vs LEGOs.

    The pertinent part is that the plural form of LEGOs is largely a US phenomenon and not present elsewhere. While there could be many reasons why this is the case, I think the most likely reason is colloquialism -- people of a locale hear it being called LEGOs and without otherwise knowing better or just as a matter of common familiarity perpetuate this usage.

    Also pointed out in that discussion is that LEGO is a neologism, made up by TLG, so they would seemingly have the authority to dictate that the term should only be used as an adjective and not a noun, and thus should render the discussion of whether its a countable noun moot.

    With that said, language evolves through usage and so, as the LEGO trademark risks genericization so too does it risk becoming a noun and then subject to grammar rules of pluralization. What we have is a cross-section of people that 1) honor the adjective only origin, 2) have genericized the trademark yet don't pluralize and 3) have genericized the trademark and pluralize.
  • UKver2UKver2 Member Posts: 13
    edited July 2011
    I thought his comment meant that because he was in the U.S. proper use of the English language somehow didn't matter...
    Okay, I see what you mean now.
    Also pointed out in that discussion is that LEGO is a fanciful term, made up by TLG, so they would seemingly have the authority to dictate that the term should only be used as an adjective and not a noun, and thus should render the discussion of whether its a countable noun moot.
    I don't know if I agree with that. If, in linguistics, brand names are, as a rule, proper nouns, I don't think a company can change that. I mean, unless the company literally writes the book on grammar etc. They can publish their own style guides and so on, but it won't make it unarguable.

    Anyway, I'm gonna go LEGO some buildings for my town layout.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 364
    At lest in the US this is a battle Lego lost a long time ago. I've never meet a kid that doesn't use the term legos. Many parents also us it. I think Lego is better embracing the term as one of affection for the toy and making sure it doesn't get used on knock off brands rather than tried to stomp it out. Back that's just me.

    As for my use I normally won't use legos in a any type of fan site, but around friends and family I use it a lot. And as for the all caps in the name, I won't do it. TLG is one the thing. The word lego is other. And I don't care if the TLG doesn't like it.
  • RavenhookRavenhook Member Posts: 70
    For some reason, when I hear "Legos" I think of Lois in the cartoon Family Guy telling Peter that Mega Bloks and LEGO are just the same thing...

    Peter, of course, is horrified!

    I always wondered why they gave those lines to the respective characters, as Peter is meant to be the ignoramus and Lois the more knowledgeable. Perhaps the writer, Seth MacFarlane (or should we write that "Macfarlane"), actually believes that?

  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,554
    edited July 2011
    I always wondered why they gave those lines to the respective characters, as Peter is meant to be the ignoramus and Lois the more knowledgeable. Perhaps the writer, Seth MacFarlane (or should we write that "Macfarlane"), actually believes that?
    If he's the ignoramus it makes sense for him to hold strong beliefs about trivial things. Any way you look at it, Lego and MegaBloks are still just children's toys and the obsessive nature of fanbois is therefore what's being mocked.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Administrator Posts: 4,401
    ^ Or, Seth is one of us. :o)
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