I am re-editing this post hoping to convey the sense of my request:

This recent question has been closed as a duplicate but IMO the issue appears to be still open and needs a more definitive answer.

All evidence I found and posted in my answer suggest a clear rule about the pluralisation of family names ending with a "y".

But there are some interesting upvoted comments which support a very different view and suggest a much less prescriptive usage of the rule mentioned.

Though the comments are not supported by any reference, they are relevant and can actually be the basis for the type of answer OP is looking for.

Should the question be reopened or should the OP ask a new question? A bounty on the old question doesn't make sense in my opinion and the new one cannot be the object of a bounty for obvious reasons.

Whatever the case, I think the question still needs attention and whether or not the issue is just a question of personal preference should be made clear to the OP and other users.

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    (1) If someone asks "Any thoughts on whether or not I should stop using it?" and the answer should be "You have the rule. You should decide. Not a bunch of strangers on the internet. You will have the consequence, not us". primarily opinion-based. I wouldn't advise it (2) If you think there could be other answers to the dupe master, then you can ask others to post an answer on the dupe master. (3) The protocol is try to find a dupe and if it is related to the Q, you can ask the OP to read it and explain how it doesn't answer the question. (4) Others might differ, but I think it is a dupe.
    – user140086
    Dec 7, 2016 at 9:39
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    ?? What upvotes comments lead you to believe it's not a duplicate? The only comments I see say "here's the rule, it's up to you to apply it but you'll be weird if you don't".
    – Mitch
    Dec 7, 2016 at 12:25
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    "A bounty on the old question doesn't make sense in my opinion" Why not? Dec 7, 2016 at 13:03
  • I like your Meta question and I agree with your point of view. I proposed a couple of improvements to your question in preparation of an up-vote. However, if you don't like my edits... you know what to do! Dec 7, 2016 at 19:55
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    The only comments that support a view that differ from your answer and which might also be linguistically interesting come from one user. You might write a new question based on his comments and on the answers and comments from english.stackexchange.com/questions/68374/… that would not be a duplicate.
    – ab2
    Dec 7, 2016 at 20:25
  • @ab2 - actually the first four upvoted comments posted under the question (yours included) suggest a very different answer from the one I gave . The same assumption is discussed also under my answer. So, are you all trying to say something consistent that can be supported by references or is my answer what OP should look at?
    – user66974
    Dec 8, 2016 at 8:36
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    @JOSH The comments under the question said that a person can spell and pluralize her own name any way she pleases, rules be damned. This is basically etiquette, not English. And people should call her what she says she wants to be called. Mayberries is fine -- for her, on her Christmas cards. A stranger would call them the Mayberrys. Your good answer gave the rules, but the comments of @ tchrist said that there were exceptions to the rules and exceptions to the exceptions. It's the exceptions and exceptions and exceptions that are interesting.
    – ab2
    Dec 8, 2016 at 14:45
  • I don't understand why you don't want to post your answer in the older post/s. If you believe your answer is useful for future visitors, then its purpose is clear, users and visitors alike will appreciate the post because it contains valuable links which they can visit for themselves.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:07
  • @Mari-LouA - I really can't make myself understood ....
    – user66974
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:18
  • The definite answer to that question is POB, it's her last name, she can spell the plural form however she likes. In Italy the law governing the spelling of first and last names is much more strident than in Anglophone countries. If tomorrow I wanted to spell my name marieloo in the UK there's nothing to stop me, except common sense.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:23
  • @Mari-LouA - if that is true, (any reference to support what you/they say?) my answer is just wrong and misleading. The fact that you can spell your family name the way you like is not a POB issue. No duplicate, no definite answer yet.
    – user66974
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:25
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    Why is your answer wrong? It provides a guideline, it states what the norm is. It provides references. As for me finding evidence to support my claim, well it is much easier to change your name by deed poll in the UK than it is in Italy. And you only need to go the deed poll if you want the new spelling to be recorded in official documents. But in a Xmas card? Is there some law which prohibits the use of nicknames or any form of abbreviations? Not that I know of.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:31
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    Pluralising a surname is the same as shortening your first name, signing off "The Mayberrys" is the same as " Mayberries" or "The 'berries" It's informal. In a formal document the expression "The family Mayberry" would probably be preferred .
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:36
  • Ok, but my understanding is that the "-ys" rule is not the only possible option to pluralise family namaes ending in "y". Yes, no ... Boh? And I am not referring to informal jokes on names.
    – user66974
    Dec 8, 2016 at 20:40
  • @curiousdannii - because the query has been raised in the new question, not in the old one. To place a bounty on the old question I should modify its content, something I'd not like to do and which is not appropriate in my opinion.
    – user66974
    Dec 12, 2016 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


The new question is an exact duplicate of How do I pluralize a name ending in “y”? If you think a more thorough answer is warranted then by all means, write one for the old question. Or if you think one is needed but don't know enough to write one yourself (or lack the time), then a bounty can be started on the old question.

  • The issue is not about my answer, but about the alternative possible answer posted in a few comments that clearly contrasts with my and the older answers. I think it would be a sensible thing to do for a site like EL&U to clarify on that point. If I post an answer on the old question it would just go unnoticed.
    – user66974
    Dec 7, 2016 at 7:59
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    @JOSH It won't be any more unnoticed than the new question, and if you are especially concerned about that then bounties can always be offered. Dec 7, 2016 at 8:12
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    If you want the new question to be opened, then please make a case that it is not a duplicate. Dec 7, 2016 at 8:12
  • What I am concerned about is that both questions still lack a clear answer. And just close voting is of no real help. It just leaves users asking themselves what the answer really is.
    – user66974
    Dec 7, 2016 at 8:17
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    @JOSH A new answer on an old question bumps that question to the top of the Active list. It's unlikely to go unnoticed.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Dec 7, 2016 at 8:19
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    @JOSH If your concern is that the comments on the new question can't be transferred to the old question, well there may be a way. I believe that it is possible for mods to merge questions so that all answers get listed together under the one parent question. This is very rarely done, but could be argued for when a question is an exact duplicate, as this one essentially is. Dec 7, 2016 at 8:28

Forget about the Mayberries and the Mayberrys. (I'm not disparaging them or the original OP!) Is there a question you can ask (and possibly answer) based on the following:

So, ever heard of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies? :) – tchrist♦

@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 – JOSH

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

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