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My last name is Mayberry and for years I have spelled it "Mayberries"on our Christmas cards because I like it that way. I realize that the normal rule of pluralizing nouns doesn't apply to proper names. I just figured since it was my last name then I should get to decide how I sign it or pluralize it. This wasn't an issue until a sister in law of mine decided to point out this year that I was spelling it wrong. So I took to the internet to see what it had to say. I found this thread about the same thing but its a few years old.

Any thoughts on whether or not I should stop using it the way I like and go with the "correct" way of Mayberrys?

marked as duplicate by ab2, MetaEd Dec 6 '16 at 21:18

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  • Just FYI, you're asking a community of rules enthusiasts if you should continue doing something against the rules. The consensus is going to be "no". – Doug Warren Dec 6 '16 at 20:21
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    Since it is your name, you can pluralize it however you like. – Mick Dec 6 '16 at 20:28
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    Of course that's fine, and perfectly normal. It's your name to do with as you please. – tchrist Dec 6 '16 at 20:28
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    @DougWarren: Well, I don't think it matters which way Kt_mae spells the family name. It's not like the established "rule" is particularly useful or logical. – sumelic Dec 6 '16 at 20:28
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    It is your name, and you can pluralize it anyway you want, especially on your Christmas cards. Your sister-in-law can do it her way, and you can do it your way. Unfortunately, according to the rules of this site, this Question has to be marked as a duplicate. – ab2 Dec 6 '16 at 20:29

According to The Merriam-Webster the plural version of your surname is Mayberrys:

  • Unlike regular nouns that end in y, names that end in y are also made plural by adding -s:

    • the Kennedy clan → the Kennedys

    • the Daley family → the Daleys

The same rule is confirmed by the following sources:

Pluralisation of surnames:

  • Making a last name plural should never involve an apostrophe. The members of the Johnson and Smith families, for instance, are the Johnsons and the Smiths, not the Johnson’s and the Smith’s.

  • Last names ending in s are no different. Most nouns ending in s are pluralized by adding es. This applies to last names as well. The members of the Edwards and Doss families are the Edwardses and the Dosses, not the Edwards’s and the Doss’s.....

  • There is one important way in which plural last names differ from other plurals: the last syllable of names ending in y does not become ies when made plural. The members of the Kennedy and the Clancy families are the Kennedys and the Clancys, not the Kennedies and the Clancies.

(The Grammarist)

Plural of family names:

  • When a family name (a proper noun) is pluralized, we almost always simply add an "s." So we go to visit the Smiths, the Kennedys, the Grays, etc.When a family name ends in s, x, ch, sh, or z, however, we form the plural by added -es, as in the Marches, the Joneses, the Maddoxes, the Bushes, the Rodriguezes. Do not form a family name plural by using an apostrophe; that device is reserved for creating possessive forms.


Family names are like brand names:

  • you don’t change the base spelling. For example you make “blackberry,” the fruit, plural by changing the “y” to “ies”; but you make “BlackBerry,” the phone, plural by simply adding an “s” to the end: “BlackBerrys.”

  • It’s the same with names. “Kennedy” becomes “the Kennedys.”


How To Make Your Last Name Plural For Upcoming Holiday Cards

  • What about names ending in Y? Just add an “s”, not “ies”. Season Greetings from the Hensleys.


  • Happy holidays from the Berrys (plural form of the name Berry—notice that we do not drop the "y" and add "ies" to proper names).


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    Thanks for listing the rule behind the correct plural surname. I fully recognize that I don't follow it on my Christmas cards. – Kt_mae Dec 6 '16 at 20:55
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    So, ever heard of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies? :) – tchrist Dec 6 '16 at 21:03
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    @tchrist - Yes of course I've heard of Sicilies: Usage note: While the rules of English state that proper nouns ending in y add an s to form their plural (as in Germanys and Marys), Sicily is an exception to this rule, as in The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Thanks for pointing out this interesting exception to the rule. en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Sicily – user66974 Dec 6 '16 at 21:30
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    The reason for why it is a so-called exception to being exceptional is because all nouns like this used to be regular in their plurals, whether proper or otherwise, and it is only now in later years that people have starting creating exceptions where none were before. – tchrist Dec 6 '16 at 21:39
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    @tchrist: I'm not altogether sure of this, but didn't English writers formerly adopt a similar approach toward possessives of singular nouns? That is, instead of saying "her majesty's" or "her majestys," writers would render the possessive as "her majesties" (plural form, no apostrophe). Here is an example of what I'm talking about. – Sven Yargs Dec 9 '16 at 22:25

I would use "Mayberrys" to avoid confusing people who want to address you using the singular form.

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    Thanks for the suggestion. I'm hoping they use the name on my return address instead of my signature on the card ;) – Kt_mae Dec 6 '16 at 20:53
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    What's the confusion you're thinking of? – tchrist Dec 6 '16 at 21:02
  • @tchrist - I think Adam meant that someone reading the card might then try to address the OP as Mayberrie. – aparente001 Dec 7 '16 at 17:42
  • @aparente001 Correct – adam Dec 7 '16 at 21:37

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