Saying 'LEGOS' Is Even More Painful Than Stepping On LEGO

I love LEGO. I hate the Americanism "LEGOS". LEGO is a collective noun. You buy some LEGO; you don't buy some LEGOS.

Picture: Jonathan Stewart

LEGO is the name of the overall toy (and the company that produces it), not of each individual piece. If you want to talk about a single piece of LEGO, you can refer to it as a "LEGO brick" or a "LEGO wheel" or whatever is appropriate.

Need an easy reminder? It's The LEGO Movie, not The LEGOS Movie. The odd plural usage seems well-established in America, but for Australian English it's just flat-out wrong.

A side note: Lifehacker's policy is to always write LEGO with capital letters. LEGO isn't an acronym, but we do this because the company logo is entirely in capitals, and so this looks more familiar. (We follow the same rule for IKEA.)

It would be entirely acceptable to spell LEGO as Lego — it's a company and a proper noun, so it needs an initial capital, but the subsequent capitals are a matter of convention, not an absolute requirement. What matters here is that you choose an approach and stick with it. Accuracy matters.

Lifehacker's Mind Your Language column offers bossy advice on improving your writing.


    What's worse is people who pronounce it Lay-go. I'm looking at you South Australia

      Can confirm, born in South Australia. Pronounced it lay-go for probably 19 years

    I use to hate this when I worked at "Dick Smiths" *cringe*

      Should have worked at Myers (/Myer's?) instead.

        People referring to Myer as Myers really gets my goat (although so many people do).

    I thought it was an 'absolute requirement' (or as absolute as the rules of grammar can be) that proper nouns with non-standard capitalisation - brand names, usually - should always be written as-is?

    Is it a collective noun? Or a plural? You would say "I bought a stack of LEGO (or LEGO bricks)" not "I bought a LEGO of LEGO".

    According to the official LEGO website:

    LEGO "should always be used as an adjective, not as a noun".

      So what's the name of the company that manufactures LEGO bricks?
      EDIT: Just actually read the link. Apparently it's the LEGO Group. Fair enough.

      Last edited 17/06/14 10:42 am

      I am enjoying a mental image of a very angry legal person raging in their office, "I DREW THESE THINGS UP! THEY'RE OUT THERE! PEOPLE SHOULD BE AWARE! SUE THEM ALL INTO OBLIVION!" and some PR person leaning casually in the doorway, sipping their coffee and saying, "Yeeeeah, you're not allowed to do that."

    LEGO is an adjective, not a noun. It is always LEGO bricks or LEGO sets.

    Legos is a brand of padta sauce.

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