People often ask, "What is the plural of 'Batman'?" But depending on how you look at it, it could be "Batmans" or "Batmen."
Michelle, a language arts teacher in Culver City, asked, “What is the plural of Batman?” It’s a good question! Many people have asked me this over the last few years. Do you talk about seven “Batmans” or seven “Batmen”?
The Plural of Batman: ‘Batmans’
I think of “Batman” as a name because you’d say “Hey, there’s Batman!” not “Hey, there’s a Batman,” or “Hey, there’s the Batman!” And “Batman” is usually capitalized like a name is capitalized. We usually make names plural by just adding an S to the end, so just like you’d say there are seven Mikes at the party or seven Emilys in your history class, you’d say there have been seven Batmans over the years. That’s the grammatically correct way to make a name plural.
The Plural of Batman: ‘Batmen’
But when I explain why the plural of "Batman" should be "Batmans," a lot of people don’t seem to like the answer, so I get the sense that “Batmen” is more popular, or maybe the people who like “Batmen” are just more vocal.
To make it even more complicated, there was an animated Batman television series called “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” that had an episode that aired in 2011 called “Night of the Batmen.” And a 2017 DC comic book featured a storyline where seven evil Batmen emerge from the Dark Multiverse, and they do call them “Batmen.” That makes me think that in the Batman universe, “Batmen” is the preferred form. The comic book press still capitalizes “Batmen,” so it’s hard to argue that they’re using “Batmen” generically and that’s why it’s pluralized differently, but not much excites me less than parachuting into a fandom I don’t know much about telling them something they all agree on as canon is wrong.
In the end, I conclude that although normally, if it’s a name, the plural of “Batman” is “Batmans,” in the Batman universe, the preferred plural is “Batmen,” especially when there’s a group of them that isn’t the Batman.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Mignon Fogarty is Grammar Girl and the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips. Check out her New York Times best-seller “Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing” and her 2018 tip-a-day calendar.
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