Like transliterations of certain terrorist organizations—Al-Qaeda, for one—there doesn’t yet appear to be a codified method for pluralizing “emoji” in print. Is it “emoji” or “emojis”? How about “emojii”?
While the Associated Press Stylebook took a firm stand and opted for “emojis” in March 2013—we side with this decision—other news outlets seem to take a more schizophrenic approach.
The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have all, in recent articles, used both “emoji” and “emojis” for the plural version of the word. So have New York magazine and The New Yorker, which once capitalized emoji—suckers!—but doesn’t any longer.
So, what’s the right usage?
According to Mark Allen, a freelance copy editor in Columbus, Ohio, and a board member of the American Copy Editors Society, “emojis is the better English plural.”
“When words enter English, we usually make them play by our rules, so I think ’emojis’ has the edge,” Mr. Allen said in an email. “A corollary might be the Japanese word ‘tsunami.’ We’re more likely to speak of ‘a series of tsunamis’ rather than ‘a series of tsunami.’ ”
Still, Mr. Allen added, either usage is “defensible.” The Oxford Dictionary online supports his thesis. It is, he noted, one of the few major dictionaries to have an “emoji” entry, and it says either “emoji” or “emojis” is correct—though which version you opt for depends on your grammatical preferences.
“Purists will insist on ‘I found some great emoji’ rather than ‘I found some great emojis,’ ” Mr. Allen concluded. “They might also visit several baseball stadia, driving there in their Prii.”