I realize that, to some of you, I may have spelt the word “pluralizing” wrong (or, realize, for that matter) because I spell things the American way on my blog. There will be no “pluralising” and “realise” here! That being said, I am not always a fan of the “Z” in words, especially where it shouldn’t be. Words should not be pluralized with a “Z”, EVER! End of story! “S”s abound in this category, and “Z”s just don’t cut it.
I don’t know when, nor where, this phenomenon began, but it has become so pervasive in the world today that magazines, video games, corporations and even movies are using the “Z” to make a word plural. It’s supposed to give the connotation that the word has somehow morphed into something “hip” or “in your face.” I remember when I was younger, there was a group that used to play in New York called the Riot Grrlz. They were a rock-metal band made up of women, and they chose to egregiously misspell the word “girls” to indicate that they didn’t follow the rules and that they were badass. They were kinda badass, but not to the point of bastardizing the English language. After them, I began to see “girlz” everywhere, in newspaper articles, on television, and there is even a magazine, which caters to ‘tween girls, that took the title Girlz, so it can pretend like it’s different and a rule-breaker (hence the plural “Z”).
Then, a toy company released a doll line called Bratz, and they were a hit. They were such a hit that McDonald’s even featured them in their Happy Meal once. They are supposed to be….well….brats (bitchy girls who are into fashion and hair, and being bitchy). Hence the name “brats,” but more badass because it has the plural “Z!” Bratz did so well that they spawned other doll lines called Bratz Babyz and Bratz Kidz. It’s understandable that they use the plural “Z” for the new lines, since the original line of toys contained it. But the “Z”s just went flying with this line. They are still around, and still as popular as ever.
In 1995, Ubisoft came out with a video game entitled Petz, and there were 2 versions: Dogz and Catz. This use of the plural “Z” is to make the reader see them as cute and cuddly. They are also “virtual” pets, so they are spelled differently than regular, living animals. The video games don’t stop there. Recently, a FaceBook game called Tribez and Castlez has been making the sidebar advertising rounds. I have no idea why the inventors decided to pluralize “tribes” and “castles” with a “Z!” This makes absolutely no sense and only annoys me more, because I can not see any reasoning behind the use of the “Z” in this case.
In addition, companies have begun naming themselves using the plural “Z.” Words like “thrillz,” “chillz,” “vibez” and “tunez” have begun popping up all over the corporate registration books. Many of these companies are entertainment companies, and are using the plural “Z” to make people feel that they are “cutting edge” and “off the wall.” Really, these companies are the same old shtick that we’ve had for a hundred years. They’ve just been rebranded, with newer technology and that shiny new “Z” on the end of words where it doesn’t belong.
It’s time for the madness to stop! This is just as bad, if not worse, than calling everything “extreme” (https://michaelinmadrid.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/extreme-everything/)! I think it actually IS worse, because at least people spell “extreme” correctly when they’re using it nauseatingly. This improper use of the plural “Z” has made it into schools and reputable places from pop culture. Some of my students have begun using it, and I am seeing it more and more in magazines and newspapers. This is becoming ridiculous. These people need to stop bastardizing the English language for no reason than to seem like they are different. Pluralizing things with a “Z” is not different anymore. It has become so overdone that it’s moved into the mainstream. It needs to stop and it needs to stop now. No spelling issue is more annoying than this!