Sometimes media announcers, especially sports and business reporters, will make their examples plural, or parenthetically plural, even though those examples are obviously unique. For example, an NPR announcer recently referred to "The Googles and the Apples," When citing very large Silicon Valley firms, like only Google and Apple can be. Sports announcers will often make players names plural, when citing them as examples of one thing or another, even though the players are obviously one of a kind. Is there a name for this behavior, and is it correct in any way?


This is a kind of metonymy. Within the realm of metonymy, it is a case of synecdoche; more specifically, it is a pars pro toto, but applied in a peculiar construction, pluralising the pars. (In a way, metonymy is a subclass of metaphory.)

  • Does this qualify as a link-only answer? :-)
    – Hellion
    Aug 19 '15 at 4:38
  • @hel If that is your preferred term, why not! I would call it a comment-turned-annotated-answer... Aug 19 '15 at 5:07

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