Proper noun singularisation - lots of Smarties, one Smarty or one Smartie?

Solax

Member
English, England
Greetings!

I am currently holding a tube of Smarties(® ;)), and I'm rather enjoying them, if I do say so. I would like to refer to one of these delicious, sugar-coated pieces of chocolate, so what do I call it? A Smarties? A Smartie? A Smarty? I have a natural tendency to go for the second, but I'd like to hear what each of you would say. :)
 
  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    They're chocolate over there? Britain...

    I don't think I would use a singular at all if the brand name is plural. A piece of Smarties candy. A few of your Smarties candies.
    If you insist for some reason of your own I guess "Smarty" would do.
     

    Solax

    Member
    English, England
    "a piece of Smarties candy" is such a wordy way of saying it, though. If someone asks for *ahem* a piece of Smarties candy (;)) you'd more often here "Give us a... Smarty/Smartie!". Would it be a conventional -y ending for this -ies plural? :)
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    I'm fairly sure the singular is "Smartie", at least that is how I would spell it. This—unlikely but true—"Smartie Museum" site agrees with me. In speech, of course, it doesn't matter how it is spelt, but "Would you like a Smartie?" would be perfectly natural and common. Note that we don't use the word "candy" as the generic word for a piece of confectionery in the UK; we call them sweets (a sweet).
     

    Solax

    Member
    English, England
    A Smartie Museum? Goodness me... That just about clears it up, for me, then! :) Thank you greatly! I was mostly concerned with the Smartie/Smarty thing. ^_^
     
    Hi, Solax.

    I'd call it a Smartie/Smarty, and I can't believe anybody would give a damn which spelling you choose should you find it necessary to write it down.

    Although in AE 'candy' is the all-embracing word for every kind of toffee/sweet/rock/chocolate, in BE the word has a very limited use. I can only think of 'cough candy', 'candy-floss' (AE 'cotton-candy') and 'candy-striped' (a cloth with narrow coloured lines on a white background - probably derived from 'candy-cane', the American walking-stick shaped brittle toffee).

    'Smartie' gets my vote.

    Rover
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    By the way "Smarties", I would say, comes under the category of "headless nouns" (a word in some way divorced from its original semantic origin). These may often be trade names or similar invented words which have irregular plurals (e.g. Sony Walkmans not Walkmen; also "still lifes", not "still lives"). In the case of Smarties it is the singular which is likely to be irregular, as Smarties was coined as a plural.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I must've said it a million times, Solax: Give us a Smartie, mother, y'greedy cow. (She can eat a whole tube in about 10 seconds. Well, not the actual tube, of course.)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Presumably deferably - deferring to Ewie and others?

    Yes, smarty or smartie (with or without initial cap). Americans: think M&Ms - similar shapes and colours (although I think Smarties come in pink too) - and you can say an M&M, no?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    'Defferably', Loob?

    Give us a clue, dear.

    Rover
    x
    Sorry, defferably is 'being-silly-speak' for definitely. I didn't invent it, honest:eek:

    What I meant to convey was "the singular is indubitably 'Smartie'".

    Thank you for the 'dear' and the kiss. I fear, though, that this forwardness may be improper unless we have been formally introduced by a Moderator.

    Yours sincerely,
    M Loobinski (Mrs)
     

    Solax

    Member
    English, England
    At the risk of going off-topic, but in the spirit of mutual understanding: :)

    Smarties in Britain are what we call M&Ms in the U.S.

    In the U.S., Smarties are small, fruit-flavored wafer candies.

    OK, to answer the original question:
    I would say "Smartie", based on Smarties being the registered name.
    Though of course we have M&Ms in the UK also, though they're considerably more small than Smarties. :) Thank you all for the discussion, and everybody I speak to seems to agree on "Smartie". "Smartie" be it! :)
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Interestingly and off-topically enough, we have here the trifecta of Smarties, M&Ms and the home-grown equivalent, Pebbles. One Smartie, one M&M, one Pebble. And now I'm craving any or all of them... :)
     
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