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Is the plural of "BlackBerry", BlackBerries or BlackBerrys?

I am asking, because I'm altering the underlying brand name to look more like the food and less like the product, leaving the reader to infer it from context.

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Related question: what is the opposite of Blackberry? WhiteNut? –  JeffSahol May 26 '11 at 14:39
    
@JeffSahol My tech informs me it's an Apple. (as in the manufacturer's popular phone) –  makerofthings7 May 26 '11 at 16:55
    
I thought the opposite of Apple was "Real Computer" :P –  JeffSahol May 26 '11 at 16:57
    
The are not berries that are black, they're Blackberrys. –  Andrew Lewis May 26 '11 at 21:27
    

4 Answers 4

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I appreciate @senderle's choice to consider the New York Times as a source for common usage.

However, I found the "proper" answer in a BlackBerry Branding Guidelines PDF from 2007 (page 5):

Avoid using the RIM Marks generically, as nouns or verbs and do not use them in the plural or possessive form.

and

  1. Do not use the RIM Marks in plural or possessive form.
    ✓ BlackBerry® smartphones
    BlackBerrys, BlackBerries, BlackBerry’s

This is in agreement with what some other answers have suggested.

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Any trademark holder will tell you that. That doesn't mean that's how people use it in the real world. –  msh210 May 26 '11 at 17:30
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That advice specifically concerns the use of "BlackBerry" as a trademark. Legally speaking, you cannot trademark a noun or a verb; only adjectival usage is trademarked. Here's an overview of trademark law. My sense is that unless you work for Research in Motion, you probably don't care whether you're using BlackBerry in a trademarkable way. –  senderle May 26 '11 at 17:38
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+1 this should be the correct answer and it's as official as it gets. –  Davy8 May 26 '11 at 18:30
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@serderle I don't think my answer suggested that I don't know what a trademark is. It uses the term "RIM Marks" and refers to a page that is entirely about trademarks. I was actually assuming some knowledge about trademarks when I offered this as an alternative authority. There's the common usage, which you covered, and then there's the "official" format from the horse's mouth. The question doesn't specify, so I delivered the latter for balance. –  Corey May 26 '11 at 19:31
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I didn't mean to criticize you personally -- it just galls me to think that corporate lawyers are somehow dictating the rules of English usage. –  senderle May 27 '11 at 14:30

I would write Blackberries rather than Blackberrys. The latter looks like a terrible spelling mistake. For most situations, altering the brand name in this way won't matter.

However, if you're preparing a formal document and need to use the exact trademarked name, then you'll have to use a circumlocution such as Blackberry devices or Blackberry phones.

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Isn't this case the same for acronyms? I mean saying "Blackberry's" would be fine, no? –  Alenanno May 26 '11 at 15:02
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By the way, I'd still go for your "Blackberry devices/phones" rather than saying Blackberrys (this one NEVER) or Blackberries. :D –  Alenanno May 26 '11 at 15:19
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@Alenanno, I would say no. Blackberry's looks just as wrong as the others to me. I'd only use the apostrophe here if the brand name itself is also an acronym. –  JSBձոգչ May 26 '11 at 15:24
    
Well I like your answer more for that second part, so I upvoted it. :) –  Alenanno May 26 '11 at 15:27
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@Alenanno, why would you pluralize with an apostrophe? Even an acronym? Nah. –  msh210 May 26 '11 at 17:29

I often turn to the New York Times for answers to questions like these. Search for "BlackBerrys" and "BlackBerries" here and see what you find.

Well, ok, I'll just tell you: they exclusively use "BlackBerrys." And if it's good enough for the New York Times, it's good enough for me.

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The technically correct plural of Blackberry would be Blackberrys because it's a proper name. Using an apostrophe, i.e. Blackberry's, is improper because it is neither a possession nor an acronym. You could get away with treating it like the fruit, i.e. blackberries, and nobody except a stickler for proper grammar would complain.

I didn't vote for @senderle's post because the New York Times isn't good for anything except lining a birdcage. ;-)

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-1 The reason people post questions here is that they are trying to understand the proper grammar. Simply "getting away with" a grammatically vague or incorrect usage is the antithesis of this site. Additionally, there's no room for mudslinging in answers, in my opinion. Leave that out, or in the comments. –  xdumaine May 26 '11 at 17:19
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Ouch. But is your beef with their journalism or their copy-editing? –  senderle May 26 '11 at 18:19
    
+1 for the good answer. –  Phonics The Hedgehog Aug 18 '11 at 22:58
    
@roviuser The main point here is to know how to write Blackberry in plural. It does not matter if it is not grammatical. –  Phonics The Hedgehog Aug 18 '11 at 23:00
    
This answer works for me. "Look at all those people talking on their Blackberrys" –  ukayer Oct 20 '11 at 4:30

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