I was travelling, and I was standing in a spot where I could see three Starbucks shops. Rather than thinking "North American cultural imperialism", my brain had a melt down over what the plural of "Starbucks" was?

Some Googling suggests "Starbuckses" but that sounds awkward to my ear (well, hearing aid).

Is Starbucks already plural?

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    "Starbuckses" is not awkward -- "Starbuckses" it is, according to grammatical convention, according to usage. – Kris Mar 4 '15 at 13:30
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    cf. "Keeping up with the Joneses," etc. – Kris Mar 4 '15 at 13:30
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    @Kris Actually, when the singular form of a word ends in consonant + 'S', the plural form is often the same as the singular. For example: barracks, crossroads, headquarters, means, series, species, works. There's no reason why starbucks shouldn't be a member of this group. I've just done a poll of the staffroom here and they are unanimous that it should be two Starbucks and not two Starbuckses – Araucaria Mar 4 '15 at 13:41
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    @kris, so it looks as though both are ok. The one American English speaker here, who's just come in reckons it's Starbuckses, maybe it's a pond thing. – Araucaria Mar 4 '15 at 13:46
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    @Araucaria: barracks, crossroads, headquarters, means, works are all plurals which have become singulars, and many of them are still sometimes treated as plural. And species and series were Latin words where the plural was the same as the singular. But you're right; there's no reason not to treat Starbucks the same way. – Peter Shor Mar 4 '15 at 14:41

"Starbucks" comes, as far as I know, from the possessive, i.e. "Starbuck's Coffee", as it was named after the character Starbuck from Moby Dick. With that in mind, it makes sense to me to use "Starbucks" as that would be the same as the plural possessive.

However, I know I've heard "Starbuckses" plenty in conversation. So as far as Southern American usage, that seems fine.

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    Thanks! Good answer. That sounds equivocal, but understandable. I'll wait a bit more before giving a tick. – Peter K. Mar 5 '15 at 20:38

Starbucks is the name of a company. You didn't see three major corporations on the corner, but three Starbucks stores. So here, Starbucks is more of a description than a noun. Yes, you elide out the "stores" for convenience but that doesn't make it an appropriate noun.

If you saw three stores painted blue, you wouldn't be worried about if you should say that you saw three "blueses" at once. You would just say I saw three blue stores and be done.

  • The trouble I have with this answer is that "blue" is an adjective, but "Starbucks" is generally used as a noun, so I don't think your analogy quite works. I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to a "Starbucks store" just a "Starbucks". No vote, just comment. – Peter K. Mar 9 '15 at 12:28

"Starbucks" is a noun. According to the grammar, all the nouns which end in "s" will require an "-es" for the plural, so, possibly it is "Starbuckses".

Moreover, it is possible to try to find words which sound similar (poetical approach :-)) or have morphological similarities. There is the word "buck" which has the plural "bucks" (like the basketball club: "Milwaukee Bucks").

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