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I Discovered the Plural of Subaru

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The 2019 Subaru Ascent Touring and Limited
A nice looking couple of Subarus… Subari? Subies?
Photo: Subaru

If you spend enough time talking about cars, eventually, you’ll run into a situation where it feels necessary to use the plural form of Subaru. If you’re anything like me, you’ll freeze, and realize that you have absolutely no idea what it is. So, I undertook a journey of enlightenment to settle the debate once and for all.

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A brief internet search quickly proved that there are a few schools of thought on the subject. The most popular form just seems to be the simple “Subarus,” but some people suggested that it should be Subari. For my own part, I found out that Microsoft Word’s grammar software rejects both forms, and the Grammarly editor only has a problem with Subari.

With no clear answer, I took to the forums to see if anybody had figured it out yet. Mostly I just found people poking fun at the idea. One commenter suggested “Subaruseseseses,” which wasn’t particularly helpful. Some people stuck with the classic “Subarus” and “Subari,” while others tried using linguistics to disprove those theories.

So, I turned to linguistics, and things began to become clear.

On the one hand, Subaru could be an irregular plural, like “woman” and “women” or “ox” and oxen.” But I don’t think “Subaren” or “Suburun” are viable options. On the other hand, it could be a word like “sheep” or “aircraft” that has the same plural and singular form, but it feels odd to say “I’ve owned three Subaru in my life.”

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Eventually, I stumbled on the closest thing I could find to an answer: Subaru has to be an unaccountable noun. Unaccountable nouns are words like “milk” or “rice” that quite literally cannot be made plural. They require a unit of measurement that can be made plural. So you ask for “two glasses of milk” or “three bags of rice.”

With this understanding, you wouldn’t say “Subarus have great safety ratings,” you would say “Subaru vehicles have great safety ratings,” or “Subaru Outbacks are very reliable,” and so on.

So, there you have it. Mystery solved. The reason nobody can agree on a plural form of the word Subaru is that the science of linguistics says that it literally cannot have one.

Source: The Free Dictionary