Examples of competing genericized trademarks

I suppose everyone is at least implicitly aware of the concept of a genericized trademark. Are there any examples of competing genericized trademarks? Especially with respect to region. For example, if everyone in, say, Michigan, called facial tissues “Quilted Northerns” instead of “Kleenex.” Answer There are cases of this: Sellotape (UK et al.) and Scotch … Read more

Which is the more accepted spelling between “doughnut” or “donut” in formal academic prose?

From what I understand, the term donut arose as a shortening for the word doughnut. The former has become much more common, though. Which word is more accepted in academia: the more formal but somewhat less common (doughnut), or more common (at least casually) but less formal (donut)? Answer When asking about contemporary usage in … Read more

How to handle non-standard capitalization in formal letters

I am writing a letter to apply for entry into a graduate-level university program through my company. I am struggling on how to write the name of the company in the letter. The company’s trademark is to write the name in capital letters (and we are encouraged to do so in work communication) but this … Read more

Company Name as Verb

I am looking for interesting classroom material. Google is both the name of a company and also a verb. Is there a name for this type of verb? Are there any other examples of this type of verb? Answer Turning a proprietary trademarked name into a generic word of common, everyday use in a way … Read more

What is the plural form of trademarked product names, specifically of the term “WordPress”?

On the stackexchange site WordPress Answers, we recently discussed the plural form, or whether one exists at all, of the system we all use. WordPress is a free and open source blogging tool and a content management system (CMS). In more colloquial terms it is a software application or “program”. Initially, I suggested that analogously … Read more

Why is Tesco often pronounced Tesco’s?

Possible Duplicate: Store names & possessive “Ear doctor's” vs “Ear doctor” I have often heard members of the British public pronounce the name of the supermarket chain Tesco as “Tesco’s” or “Tescos”. Thinking that it was formerly called “Tesco’s”, as many old British companies are, I looked up its history and learnt that it is … Read more

How did kool-aid come to be the drink of fanboys?

Why does Kool-Aid relate to being something’s fanboy/fangirl? Answer I think you are referring to the metaphor of drinking the Kool-Aid: "Drinking the Kool-Aid" is a metaphor, used in the United States and Canada, that means to become an unquestioning believer in some ideology, or to accept an argument or philosophy wholeheartedly or blindly without … Read more

Should capitals be used when verbing trademarks?

When using a trademark as a verb (“hoovering”, “xeroxing”, “photoshopping” and “googling”), should it be capitalized or uncapitalized? Strictly speaking, Google and Adobe are opposed to their trademarks being used as verbs or as generic trademarks, but that’s a separate topic. Answer It depends on popularity and usage. As brand names become more and more … Read more