The BMW vs. BMWs

zaffy

Senior Member
Polish
When I make a general comparison of car makes, can I use the singular form or better to use the plural one?


The BMW is on the whole way more expensive than the Ford.
BMWs are on the whole way more expensive than Fords.
 
  • Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    You can use 'the BMW' and 'the Ford' to represent all BMWs and Fords, but personally I think your second sentence sounds better.
    I agree. The second sentence sounds far more idiomatic to me.

    In reality is it "BMW [cars] are on the whole way more expensive than Ford [cars]". But no one would actually phrase it like that.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    If you are comparing two specific cars, then you would use the first sentence - but without "on the whole." (It is also possible for one specific Ford to be more expensive than one specific BMW.)

    For a general comparison, the second sentence is better.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    If BMW made 1 car at 1 price, and Ford made 1 car at 1 price, then "the BMW" costs more than "the Ford".

    But they both makes many cars at many prices, so you cannot compare "what the BMW costs" with "what the Ford costs", as sentence 1 does.

    Sentence 2 fits the real situation better.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    If BMW made 1 car at 1 price, and Ford made 1 car at 1 price, then "the BMW" costs more than "the Ford".

    But they both makes many cars at many prices, so you cannot compare "what the BMW costs" with "what the Ford costs", as sentence 1 does.

    Sentence 2 fits the real situation better.
    Yes, Ford makes 2019 GT 40 with a starting price north of five hundred thousand dollars and BMW makes the Mini Cooper which starts at $22,900.00.
    I doubt you will find a Mini available at the base price and I know you won't find a GT 40 at that price. The previous models were selling for $100,000.00 over sticker price.
     
    When I make a general comparison of car makes, can I use the singular form or better to use the plural one?


    The BMW is on the whole way more expensive than the Ford.
    BMWs are on the whole way more expensive than Fords.

    I agree with heypresto, and everyone else that has posted here, that the second one sounds better. The second one sounds better because BMW and Ford are companies that produce more than one model of car. So when we say BMW, we speak of more than one car model, and when we say Ford, we, also, speak of more than one car model. In this way, the plural form is better than using "the" before each car company.

    If the sentence spoke of one type of model from each company, then the sentence that uses "the" before each car brand would sound more normal or usual.

    1) The Honda CRV is comparable to the Subaru Forester, some people say.

    2) Some people like the BMW X5 better than the BMW 5.

    3) The BMW X5 is more expensive than the BMW 5.

    So the above three sentences speak of specific car models, not car companies. This makes the use of "the" definite article sound better and normal.

    Here's something else:

    4) A BMW is way more expensive than a Ford.

    5) A BMW is always going to be way more expensive than a Ford.

    The indefinite article works well here because we speak of "one BMW" among other BMWs and "one Ford" among other Fords. We do not name a specific model for each car company, however,

    We must have specificity when using "the" definite article. There should be a way to analyze each use of "the" definite article that accounts for specificity. Naming car companies is not specific enough in this particular example. And, though it's not incorrect, this is what makes your first example sentence not sound as good or as normal as your second example sentence. In a certain way, the first example sentence sounds a bit dissonant. It does not immediately and entirely line up with how we automatically process information: it's counter to what we recognize in our knowledge of "car company" versus "specific car model". It does not go along with our cognition.

    Here's one more example:

    6) The least expensive BMW is more expensive than the most expensive Ford.

    With superlatives, we have specificity: "the least expensive of them all" and "the most expensive of them all".
     
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