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Is "Russias" the plural of "Russia", in the sense that this is how they relate grammatically?

The reason that I suspect that they are not plural-singular is the following example.

[1] I see the egg. [2] I see the eggs. [3] I see an egg. [4] I see egg.

[a] I see the Russia. [b] I see the Russias. [c] I see a Russia. [d] I see Russia.

It seems to me that [4] and [d] differ semantically.

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    Yes, it is. You can pluralize proper nouns. Here's an example: "There are two Russias: the pretty one tourists see when they visit Moscow or St. Petersburg and the ugly one riddled with crime and poverty that Russians endlessly struggle to survive through long, cold winters. – Billy Jul 9 '18 at 19:35
  • @Billy I am not saying you cannot put an s onto Russia, I know you can. I am asking is the relation egg-eggs the same as the relation Russia-Russias, and I think it is not. – fundagain Jul 9 '18 at 19:41
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    And I am answering that, yes, it is the same. Putting an S onto the end of "Russia" makes it plural just like putting an S onto the end of "egg" makes it plural. Just because there are relatively fewer instances in which you'd pluralize "Russia" than you'd pluralize "egg" doesn't mean that when you do, the pluralization has any different sense. So when you say, "I think it is not," you are wrong. – Billy Jul 9 '18 at 19:47
  • @Billy Then perhaps post an answer for the community to vote on? – fundagain Jul 9 '18 at 20:00
  • @Billy Is waters the plural of water? Is water-waters related as in egg-eggs? – fundagain Jul 9 '18 at 20:04
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"Russias" is certainly plural, but I think you're right about there being a possible objection to calling it "the" plural of "Russia" because "Russia" is a proper noun (and therefore semantically definite, even though it "anarthrous" or not used with a definite article). You can't "pluralize" a proper noun without somehow converting the meaning: for example, you could be talking about different things named Russia, or hypothetical different versions of Russia, or the different ways that different people experience or perceive the country of Russia. So as you have hinted, the singular counterpart of "Russias" could be considered to be the countable indefinite "a Russia" (rather than "Russia").

The situation is the same for any other proper noun that is typically used as a singular noun (Finland, Australia, etc., or personal names like "Alice" or "Andrew"). You can use a plural form, but the exact "singular counterpart" of a noun phrase like "Andrews" could be considered to be "an Andrew" rather than "Andrew" by itself.

We see a comparable phenomenon of semantic "coercion" with the plural forms of words that are usually non-count nouns, like "wools" or "gravels". The meaning changes (typically to something like "types of X") because the usual meaning of a word like "wool" or "gravel" is not compatible with plural semantics.

In the end, though, the concept of "the" grammatical plural of something may not be very useful. It might be better to just think in terms of plural forms and singular forms, definite forms and indefinite forms.

E.g. "the egg" is a definite singular noun phrase. "The eggs" is a definite plural noun phrase. It's not really clear that "the eggs" is "the" plural of "the egg"--the definite plural noun phrase doesn't refer to multiple instances of some one particular egg, it refers to a definite set of multiple eggs.

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    Of course you can pluralized "Russia". The tsar was "Emperor of All the Russias", including Great Russia (Russia proper), Little Russia (the Ukraine), and White Russia (Belorussia or Belarus). – tautophile Jul 9 '18 at 19:46
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    @tautophile: The question was not about whether the word "Russias" exists, but about whether it functions as a plural form of the anarthrous proper noun "Russia", or in some other way. – sumelic Jul 9 '18 at 19:50
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    @tautophile: Here's a question: would you say that each of "the Russias" "is Russia" or that each of "the Russias" "is a Russia"? I think the first way of saying it wouldn't really express the intended meaning. We'd want to say that each of them is {an entity called Russia}, not that each of them is {the entity called Russia}. But "Russia", without an article, generally expresses a definite, not an indefinite concept. – sumelic Jul 9 '18 at 19:54
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    @sumelic - You could say it either way, and doing so results in different meanings in the exact same way "the egg" and "an egg" have different meanings. You can also say an anarthrous "Russia" in plural, as in "Russias of times past," not just "the Russias of times past" or "some Russias of times past in the same way that you don't have to have it mean "a Russia" or "the Russia" by making "Russia" arthrous. – Billy Jul 9 '18 at 19:58
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    +1. I was born in a Soviet Union and have lived in many a Russia at various points in my life, and I approve of this message. – RegDwigнt Jul 9 '18 at 20:50
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I've given enough comments that I think I'm going to clarify my response in an actual answer, largely because of the limitations of comments and my inability to satisfactorily get my point across in them.

You made it clear in one of your comments that what you're actually looking to find out is if pluralizing "Russia" can pluralize it in its sense as an anarthrous proper noun. I am going to provide three examples here that will hopefully establish for you that, yes, it can, which took me a bit of thinking to work out because arthrous nouns often forgo the article beforehand in the plural, as well (e.g., "Eggs are good.").

Here's what I came up with:

Vlad Petrov saw three Russias in his lifetime: an imperial Russia, a communist Russia, and an oligarchical Russia.

This is an arthrous usage of the plural "Russias." The use of the indefinite articles in the latter half make it clear that the aforementioned "Russias" isn't the arthrous "the Russias" or the anarthrous "Russias" but the arthrous "some Russias," a pluralization of "a Russia."

A rephrasing of that sentence would be: "Some Russias Vlad Petrov saw in his lifetime were an imperial Russia, a communist Russia, and an oligarchical Russia."

Vlad Petrov saw three Russias in his lifetime: the imperial Russia, the communist Russia, and the oligarchical Russia.

This is an arthrous usage of the plural "Russias," as well. The use of the definite articles in the latter half make it clear that the aforementioned "Russias" isn't a pluralization of either "a Russia" or the anrthrous proper noun "Russia" but of the arthrous "the Russia."

A rephrasing of that sentence would be: "The Russias Vlad Petrov saw in his lifetime were the imperial Russia, the communist Russia, and the oligarchical Russia."

Vlad Petrov saw three Russias in his lifetime: imperial Russia, communist Russia, and oligarchical Russia.

This clearly is a pluralization of the anarthrous proper noun "Russia." In the prior two examples, we saw what the arthrous plurizations look like. Since no articles were used in the latter half where "three Russias" is defined, we know that the proper noun "Russias" appearing beforehand is likewise anarthrous. This is underpinned by the fact that it's not signaling three different types of Russia but actually three different Russias, meaning three entirely different countries named Russia, each existing at a different time, under a different government, and with different borders.

A rephrasing of that sentence would be: "Russias Vlad Petrov saw in his lifetime were imperial Russia, communist Russia, and oligarchical Russia."

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"I see egg" is not the same as as the other egg sentences, because in this case you are not referring any longer to any kind of individual egg — at this point, you are talking about the contents of broken egg(s), or scrambled eggs, etc — it has become a mass noun, not a count noun.

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    No, that would be a "mess noun". – Hot Licks Jul 9 '18 at 21:20

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