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LEGO, Lego, lego, legos – does it matter?

by admin on June 6, 2013

in LEGO Dictionary

As you start to get comfortable within the LEGO hobby sooner or later you will likely face the startling realization that you have been referring to your favorite brand all wrong.  The jolt usually gets delivered by someone who has been in the hobby longer then you, and who will look at you horrified when you proudly talk about your “legos”. To recover from the embarrassment of being detected and branded as a noob, you eagerly look for the opportunity to correct others. Depending on how it is delivered this can help to protect the brand, or help you being branded as a radical LEGO nut, fanatic, or… as in this funny comic-strip by FBTB.net, even worse…

LEGO or LEGOs Comic by FBTB.net

So why does it matter LEGO, Lego, lego, legos? The LEGO Group explains it the following way: “LEGO is a brand name that is very special to all of us in the LEGO Group Companies. We would sincerely appreciate your help in keeping it special by referring to our bricks as “LEGO Bricks or Toys and not just “LEGOS”. By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand name that stands for quality the world over.” They also give some guidelines in their Company Profile (last page):

  • The LEGO brand name should always be written in capital letters
  • LEGO must never be used as a generic term or in the plural or as a
    possessive pronoun, e.g. “LEGO’s”.
  • When the LEGO brand name is used as part of a noun, it must never
    appear on its own. It should always be accompanied by a noun. For example, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group, LEGO play materials,
    LEGO bricks, LEGO universe, etc.
  • The first time the LEGO brand name appears it must be accompanied
    by the Registered symbol ®.

One of the issues is when people refer to all building toys as “legos”, which dilutes the LEGO brand name by lumping it together with lesser quality brands. You may have run into the side-effect of this yourself when responding to a local listing that advertises “huge lot of legos for sale”, only to find a big box of junky toys. Yeah, very disappointing… 🙁

There is another matter also, something which is more technical, but also more important for the long-term protection of the brand. To protect their brand name, companies have to show that they have been making reasonable effort to protect their trademarks. If they fail to do so their trademark could be permanently revoked – which basically means they would lose their identity – certain death for a company.

It may be too much to refer to our beloved toy as LEGO Bricks or LEGO Toys in everyday speech and risking sounding like the grammar-police, but we can at least try to stay away from using the plural “legos”. In writing, capitalizing LEGO doesn’t take much longer and it actually looks nicer and more professional. If you regularly blog about LEGO or share your own LEGO creations online, there are some helpful guidelines for using the LEGO name, trademark, images, etc. that you can check out here: LEGO Fair Play Guidelines & Policies.

LEGO Fair Play

So what do you think? What is your experience with using the LEGO brand name? Do you hear people referring to LEGO as “legos”? Does it bother you? Do you correct them? And what do you think of the policies and guidelines given by The LEGO Group? Are they easy to understand and follow? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the LEGO Dictionary section to learn the language of LEGO fans, or select from the following related posts:

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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

DaveDisaster June 6, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Lego. Lego. Lego.

It may be anal, but it infuriates the grammar nazi in me whenever I hear someone (usually American, in my unscientific survey of my own experience) say ‘legos’!

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Meneldur son of Garamar June 6, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Oops. It’s LEGO not Lego. I’m convicted and guilty as charged. 🙁

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D.B. Bricks June 6, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Ditto, 🙁

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Furbs June 6, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I have always referred to it as LEGO and never pluralised it, it does bug me when people say Legos. I just want reach through the monitor and give em a slap.

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ninja of stealth June 6, 2013 at 11:59 AM

ha-ha… yeah, I say Lego’s all the time. yeah. but when I first saw this post I thought, ”what do they mean Legos, Legos, Legos does it matter?” ”wha! this is a legoish blog thing?!” but I figured it out.

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JediToa June 6, 2013 at 11:24 AM

Will I get sued if I once said ‘legos’? Because I once did. (Don’t tell the LEGO company)

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Meneldur son of Garamar June 6, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Well, I hate to break it to you JediToa, but you just confessed it online and anyone can see it….including LEGO!

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ninja of stealth June 6, 2013 at 12:00 PM

I think he’s got a point JEDITOA

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admin June 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Yes, all your LEGO will be taken away, and you will be inprisoned in a jail-cell made out of LEGO and guarded by mean-faced minifigs. 😈

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Fikko3107 June 7, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Cool! (My brain is off at the moment.)

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Fluttershy (Never think of replacing the F with an S) June 7, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Then… Just break the jail cell.

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Samuel June 30, 2016 at 1:54 AM

All your LEGO are belong to us.

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Gabriel June 6, 2013 at 11:46 AM

When people ask, I tell them. But usually I just use the name correctly and hope that people observe my example and follow suit. I have several LEGO key chains, a LEGO jacket, and now a LEGO water bottle, so my community and coworkers all know that I’m somewhat of a LEGO aficionado. I’m sure they’ll notice and stop saying “lego’s.” But until they do, I don’t think it’s prudent to correct them every time they use the trademark name incorrectly.

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Meneldur son of Garamar June 6, 2013 at 11:48 AM

I whole-heartedly agree with you, Gabriel. It wouldn’t help anything to keep correcting them every single time they said it wrong. That’s just crass.

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Kevinhink June 6, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Great article. 🙂

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admin June 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Nice to have ya, Kevin! 🙂

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Micho June 6, 2013 at 11:57 AM

I understand that some people might get frustrated when someone uses the wrong terminology and its OK to correct people with kindness. It’s just when someone turns into a freak and gets all aggressive and defensive that I go “sheeesh”. It’s one of the main reasons I love comic books but hate comic book “Fan Boys”… give me a break guys LOL, it’s ok to love something but don’t be a freak-a-zoid… Yeah lets not be like “Fan Boys” and behave like responsible mature AFOLs

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Micho June 6, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Also, for parents speaking español it’s much easier to say “Recoje los Legos!!!” (Pick up the Legos) than to say “Recoje los bloques de LEGO!!!” (Pick up the LEGO blocks), or “Recoje los juguetes de marca LEGO!!!” (Pick up the LEGO Brand toys) :-D… “RECOJE LOS NINJAGO!!!”

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admin June 6, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Micho, yeah, in English it’s not so bad, we only have to worry about that one “s”, but in some other languages it would actually be really artificial to NOT incorporate LEGO into the common grammar of the language. 🙄

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Micho June 6, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Oui mademoiselle 😉

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Legoman640 June 6, 2013 at 3:46 PM

You know french too? Cool! Ca va? :mrgreen:

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ninja of steath June 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM

whoa… French?! something in French… sort of , kind of… ok no I don’t.

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ninja of steath June 7, 2013 at 1:01 PM

I ment to say: I know something in French!

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gid617 June 6, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Yes, while in English you can generally just drop the ‘s’, in Spanish it would be much more complicated. I never noticed that before (I do most, though not all, my LEGO talking in English), but now that Micho mentions it… I don’t think I’ve heard anyone go out of their way in Spanish to keep it singular!

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Micho June 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Oh yeah, you are right, I’ve actually never heard LEGO used as a singular in español, it’s always “Los LEGOs” LOL… funny how we start thinking about this stuff :-D… that’s why I love this Blog

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CRXREX June 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM

What about just using the term as singular or plural?

“Pick up the LEGO”.

I’d never say “Pick up the LEGO bricks” and I’d never say “Pick up the LEGOS”.

Just, “Pick up the LEGO.”

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admin June 6, 2013 at 12:47 PM

It is technically still not correct, but I think it is acceptable and something a lot of LEGO fans resort to. But don’t quote me on that. I’m just a blogger. 😉

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Håkan June 12, 2013 at 5:42 PM

I’d go for that, using Lego as a mass noun, like “sand” or “grass”.

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Micho June 6, 2013 at 1:48 PM

As Anna mentioned, it’s not the same in Spanish “”Recoje los LEGO” sounds really weird, maybe it’s just old habit and the fact that no one has ever brought it up before today LOL… “Recoje los CHIMAS!” LOL

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Håkan June 11, 2013 at 4:48 AM

What about “Recoje el Lego”?

Then, my Spanish is pretty basic…

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Steven June 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Why such a fuss ? As most of you say it is usually Amercan’s with their use of terms. Well if the correct pronunciation is used, then we would use the apostrophe and that what you all should have learned in school. No matter where that might have been. Admin I assume you’d agree with this ?

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admin June 6, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Steven, it is actually not just an American thing. I speak three languages and it is an issue in all of them. In some languages it is more awkward to get it right than in others. As the guidelines mention above LEGO should always stand by itself with no attachments whatsoever as it is a brand name. LEGOs is not correct, but LEGO’s is not correct either. I personally stay away from using LEGOs as it does sound noobish and as a blogger I should know better. In general I also try to stay away from using LEGO’s, although sometimes I may say things like LEGO’s products, or LEGO’s design, instead of The LEGO Group’s products, etc. So yeah, the grammar police may still get me, but at least I always capitalize LEGO, so I should be able to get away with a lighter punishment. 😉

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Micho June 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

What’s your 3rd language Anna? I’m guessing one of them is Spanish from previous comments, whats the other one?

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admin June 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Micho, my Dad is from Germany and I speak a bit, and my Mom is from Hungary, so I speak that too. I don’t speak Spanish. Geneva is the resident Spanish expert. 😉

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Micho June 6, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Oh wow!!! That is cool!

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Legoman640 June 6, 2013 at 3:50 PM

I speak Francais on occasions. :mrgreen: When my french aunt and uncle come over I may speak it.

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Micho June 10, 2013 at 6:37 PM

nice 😀

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Eric at a LEGO a Day June 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM

I agree with the cartoon. 100% Get over yourself. If you don’t like how I say “legos”, I don’t care in the least. There are people starving around the world, and this is the cause you choose to pick up? Your banner to wave is, “It’s LEGO, not legos”?

Yes, I always refer to them as LEGO as much as possible. When talking with kids, or non-AFOLs, I am fine with people saying legos. I am guilty of saying it as well from time to time so as to not alienate anyone with my snobbishness.

As far as I’m concerned, as soon as I pay for my legos, they are mine, and I may call them whatever I choose to. Not really concerned with what TLG thinks about what I do with my own personal property.

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admin June 6, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Eric, relax, I have no problem with however you refer to your LEGO collection. This is a topic of education and discussion, not a cause, and there are no flags to wave. The LEGO Company – and all other companies with a unique brand-name – however do have to make an effort to protect their brand-name otherwise they can loose it altogether. As LEGO fans we can choose to help them in this effort, or could also completely ignore it, like you said. It is a request by LEGO, not a demand. 😉

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Eric at a LEGO a Day June 6, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Soooooo sorry! Did not mean for that to look like I was attacking you. I knew it wasn’t your stance per se. I was speaking in general.

No offense intendedd, I assure you!

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admin June 6, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Eric, I know. I’m aware that this topic can russle some feathers. I’m fine with that. And we are still friends. 😉

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The brick guy June 6, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Well lego and LEGO caught me out but I don’t think i have ever referred to my LEGO as Lego’s I think it’s weird that way and
Capital Letter LEGO is quite annoying when I’m on my ipad like right now but if its LEGOs way il do it………….for a free set……..Jek-14’s starfighter maybe 😀

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admin June 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM

He, he, tell that to Kevin. He works for LEGO. 😉

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the brick guy June 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM

so Kevin………………. 🙂

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Fikko3107 June 6, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Notice that I always used LEGO everywhere, and never, EVER lego or legos.

Oh my. I just did for the very first time.

NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To this, I can end to saying only one thing.

D’OH!

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Legoman640 June 6, 2013 at 3:55 PM

I always say LEGO when talking about it and I don’t think i’ve ever misused it.

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gid617 June 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM

I always capitalize LEGO when writing on a LEGO related site (and there’s no other sites I write on – except Flickr which is quite LEGO related for me, so I guess that’s about always), it’s just when I’m, say writing a letter to someone who wouldn’t be aware of the difference that I wouldn’t capitalize it (no examples… 😛 ), because caps always seems a bit screamy when there’s no apparent reason. Of course in the case of LEGO there is a reason… but, you know what I mean, the other person probably isn’t aware of it. Oh, and I may make it plural once in a while, though I try not to…

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admin June 6, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Yeah, maybe LEGO is suggesting the capitals to stand out! 🙄

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Meneldur June 6, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Hmm, I don’t think it’s a crime to say it the wrong way….is it? Uh, hmm, I hope not.

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Bug June 6, 2013 at 4:20 PM

I hope it isn’t because I almost always say Legos, Lego’s, or even just lego.

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Meneldur son of Garamar June 6, 2013 at 4:30 PM

I keep forgetting to tell you, Bug, that I thought your post on OKILUG was wonderful. I especially liked the MOC of Endor and Helm’s Deep. 🙂

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Purple ninja girl of power(Lloyd's admirer) June 6, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Wow that’s really intersting

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tgb.legoguy June 6, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Are the yoda chronicles on tonight?

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CD's Lego Blog June 6, 2013 at 9:07 PM

I have almost never said “legos” in my life. Ever since I discoverd it I have always been calling it “lego”. I always hate it when someone puts it plural. It doesn’t sound good. LEGO!

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Darkon June 6, 2013 at 9:47 PM

Just thought I’d throw in my two studs. First of all, you are correct that legos is not a word. The plural of Lego is Lego Bricks. Secondly, you don’t have to spell it LEGO, just Lego is fine as long as the L is capitalized. Honestly though, it does not matter. Gramar is one of the stupidest things to get worked up about, but everyone does anyway. I too will not allow anyone to say legos, but that doesn’t mean it’s important. People freak out over the silliest things, and sadly I am a people. So it’s “Lego”!!! 😀

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admin June 7, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Darkon, if we want to be very technical LEGO does supposed to be capitalized. They mention that in their guidelines quoated above. But again, as you said, it is a trivial matter, and at the same time LEGO does have to inform us what they want to protect their brand. BTW, personally I don’t mind how people use it or write it here and certainly won’t judge someone based on it. 😉

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awesome June 7, 2013 at 6:28 AM

I have ALWAYS said legos (DOUBLE OFFENSE!!!)
I’ll probably forget this. (thats what i do! 😉 )

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Brick Boy June 7, 2013 at 8:17 AM

Well, I always say LEGO, but I hate when people say Lego!
I say, I love to play with LEGO!
As my Mother would say, Please come get your Legos of the table:D

I know some folks on MOCpages that are true fans yet say “LEGO ‘s’
Or lego or legos! D: I also fail to adress the brand correctly in my everyday speech, but I try my best;) Great article by the way!
-Brick Boy

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Tenny1028 June 7, 2013 at 8:34 AM

I hate it when people say Legos. And I like it when auto correction re corrects it to LEGO.

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mwhitt80 June 7, 2013 at 11:37 AM

I’ve been playing with legos since I was 4/5 (closing in 30 years, yikes). I don’t care how you technically say/type the word “legos”; I’m sticking with the term the entire world uses, “legos” (or if I’m feeling proper “Legos”).

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Glenn June 7, 2013 at 9:14 PM

Eh, “LEGOS” just sounds wrong to me, regardless of TLG policy, which I have no problem with.

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TJ June 8, 2013 at 8:51 AM

“LEGOS” dose not sound right to me. When people say Legos it drives me nuts.

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admin June 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Yeah, I don’t like it either. It doesn’t sound or look good. BTW, the most frequent way I write LEGO is LEGo. I know; crazy! LOL! But I make that mistake all the time. You don’t see it in articles because the auto-correct will catch it, but in comments and also image descriptions you will see my mistake. It’s because I lift up my caps-lock finger too soon. 😳

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ChocoBricks Customs June 8, 2013 at 11:10 AM

I personally have nothing against the use of Legos. I say it at times. My parents and friends say it and I never really correct them because I then look like a jerk. I try to be a little humble about it. On the plus side, it isn’t something worth worrying over anyways.

Anyways, legos are awesome.

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barefootmeg June 8, 2013 at 12:26 PM

i find the whole issue maddening. i think the lego company should give the product line a name (besides “LEGO bricks”) so that we can refer to the company separately from the product. they could hold a contest and solicit name ideas. to call them all LEGO bricks is not only longer, but it doesn’t really fit when you’re talking about a minifig component, or a rubber band, or any of the zillion other things that don’t look at all like a brick. they could do it for bionicle, why not for the basic brick line?

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admin June 8, 2013 at 2:34 PM

That’s actually a really good idea. And again; I don’t think LEGO really minds, however from the legal perspective they do have to make an effort to educate their fans otherwise they can loose their trademark. Propably that’s why they haven’t bothered coming up with a name that is easier to use.

I personally write LEGO with capital letters and never pluralize it either in writing or speaking, and that’s pretty much it – not that hard. Kind of like fish and not fishes. Or sheep and not sheeps. Although I do say fishies sometimes. 🙄

It seems to be common that people who pluralize LEGO and call it legos do lump together all construction brands, and that’s what LEGO is trying to avoid.

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Russell June 8, 2013 at 8:47 PM

Ya, i hate it when people say “legos”… i usually correct them but it is so annoying…

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Brendan May 23, 2014 at 8:31 AM

I think Legos is an American term because I have never heard anyone here in the UK use it, but I have heard it a lot in American Movies and Sitcoms like Malcolm in the Middle.

I don’t think it matters what you call it as long as you are enjoying what you are doing!

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Håkan June 10, 2013 at 5:47 AM

I think Wikipedia decided on using “Lego”, since they thought “LEGO” stood out too much in running text, and it looked like some kind of abbreviation. (Some might claim “Lego” is an abbreviation, but if it’s seen as an abbreviation of “leg godt”, I guess it would be spelled “LeGo”.

I think I adher to the Wikipedia standard, since it resonates with my own thoughts about it.

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Chris July 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Interesting timing on this article as I just had this conversation with someone.

@Håkan, Wikipedia is not the ideal authority in this case. I would suggest that using the brand usage guidelines that the LEGO Group created and provides at the end of their Company Profile PDF is the best source.

It is a free download available here:
http://www.lego.com/en-us/aboutus/media-library

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Kristina June 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

LEGO bricks, LEGO elements, LEGO sets…
I just say LEGO stuff
“Pick up all your LEGO stuff”
🙂

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admin June 10, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Kristina, yeah, that sounds totally right! 😀

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Chris July 10, 2013 at 12:57 PM

and by their own guidelines, that’s still accurate 😉

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james March 10, 2014 at 4:34 AM

In the real world, nobody cares whether they call it ‘legos’ or ‘LEGO bricks’. I’m going to continue calling it ‘legos’ just like the rest of us normal people.

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admin March 10, 2014 at 2:02 PM

James, as mentioned in the article it is important for a company to make an effort to protect their brand, otherwise they will loose their rights – this is a legal issue. If we care about a company’s long-term survival it makes sense to help them in this regard. The fact that people are starting to call all building toys as “legos” is an alarming sign. Then the same people complain when the buy a loose lot of “legos” off of eBay that it is full of knock-off brands, not genuine LEGO.

LEGO is not forcing anyone to use their brand-name. They are simply asking to avoid confusion as well as loosing their rights to the name. If we appreciate the brand and would like it to be available for future generations we can make a little effort – at least in public writing and speaking – to use the brand-name that would assure our favorite toy will stick around for a long time.

Also, just would like to request to please keep in mind that this is a family-friendly site. I have slightly edited your comment to make it more appropriate for our audience. Thank you for your cooperation in this regard.

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Tobias May 6, 2015 at 8:06 PM

Interesting. In Denmark it has always been reffered to as LEGO bricks (legoklodser).

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admin May 7, 2015 at 8:55 AM

Ah, you guys are so proper! 🙂

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Amanda-Beth June 7, 2015 at 5:50 PM

See when I got my first set of bricks I was three and an early reader for the late 80’s and it said LEGO bricks so depending on context I would say bricks or LEGO bricks. I don’t mind ppl forgetting to capitalize it I understand the laziness. But the s irks me to no end because I at age three knew naturally that the brand name was LEGO and that peices where the bricks simply by reading the box to store them in.

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admin June 7, 2015 at 6:34 PM

I think a lot of this has to do with the media. If media personalities keep using a word, name or term wrong, people pick it up. And then children naturally imitate how adults use the language. But yes, the box says LEGO, and in LEGO published books, articles and other materials they are always consistent.

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Amanda November 29, 2015 at 5:49 PM

They are LEGO products primarily LEGO bricks. I have always known the Duplo a sub brand of LEGO is written on box per way I wrote Duplo use to be Duplo blocks but within reccent years changed to Duplo bricks. It is just respectful to not use plural form of Lego or Duplo. It is sort of like Crayola crayons we never plurlize Crayola when are talkin about the brand.

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admin November 30, 2015 at 11:24 AM

Amanda, good comparison with Crayola. Well said.

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Tommy Armstrong March 15, 2016 at 9:03 PM

As someone involved in this LEGO community, it has always been tough. When I first got into it years ago, AFOLs were not shy whatsoever to correct you. As time went on I became used to the proper usage and it really started grating on my nerves when misused. Almost as much as “where you at?” It is easy enough if you add the correct word to your spell checking library. And at least when you see someone using it correctly, you know they are serious fans. I even have a special signature for my email replies to people wanting to enquire about my products that explains the useage. A lot of people honestly find it helpful and most of my requests come from serious fans. And it is something to have a conversation about. 🙂 “Building proper usage one brick at a time”

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admin March 16, 2016 at 11:15 AM

Tommy, that’s a good idea about the signature line. 😀

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David June 13, 2016 at 2:26 PM

If we’re correcting things like this, I ‘d like to note that in the article, the sentence “…which basically means they would loose their identity…” ought to use the word “lose,”not “loose.” 🙂
Set the dogs “loose” on incorrect usage, or they might “lose” their identity!
😎

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admin June 13, 2016 at 3:02 PM

David, LOL! Thanks for catching that. Got it fixed. 😀

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Pip November 23, 2016 at 6:11 AM

I LOVE my legos.

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