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Tardii? Tardisis? Tardisopoli? THEE TARDIS!!
August 5, 2012 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Dr. Who fans: What is the 'official' plural for Tardis?

I'm making this cross stitch piece, and "Tardises" just doesn't look right to me. I'm thinking about making a few of these as gifts and I don't want to embarrass myself in front of my more die-hard friends. I've only ever heard "The Tardis" on the show.

If you've got a link to an official source (show website, etc.) then you get bonus points.
posted by TooFewShoes to Writing & Language (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Tardis is a unique thing; there is only one of it. Thus, books are not like "Tardises".

Books are like The Tardis.
posted by carsonb at 4:20 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Technically there is no plural as there is only supposed to be one Tardis at a time.

Books are like a Tardis: bigger on the inside.

or

Books are like the Tardis: bigger on the inside.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:22 PM on August 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Welp, I'm totally wrong about that. There have been other TARDISes, and I'm only ever seeing them referred to as "TARDISes".

As long as you're altering the pattern though, I'd go with "the TARDIS".
posted by carsonb at 4:25 PM on August 5, 2012


Also, TARDIS should be capitalized, as it's an acronym.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:25 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


"TARDISes are the space and time travel ships of the Time Lords of the planet Gallifrey. Capable of dematerializing from their current location and rematerializing on any planet in the universe and at any point in that planet's history, the TARDISes are in many ways the heart of the Time Lords' technology and culture. The name TARDIS is an acronym that stands for Time And Relative Dimension(s) In Space, and the word Tardis means Time-Ship. The plural of TARDIS is still debated by Time Lords but for the purposes of this paper will be written TARDISes."
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:26 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. So, the plural would be Times And Relative Dimensions In Space(s), and it would still be spelled TARDIS.
posted by Mizu at 4:26 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wiki says TARDISes, but I agree that "a TARDIS" sounds better and makes more sense.
posted by two lights above the sea at 4:27 PM on August 5, 2012


This random BBC page that I found on Google uses 'TARDISes'.

I want to say most people write Tardis, not TARDIS, though. Whether this is because they don't know it's an acronym or their convention is to use one capital for acronyms that are said as words, I don't know. (I have no idea about the prevalence of that convention. I know the Guardian uses it, so they write Unesco, rather than UNESCO, for example.)
posted by hoyland at 4:37 PM on August 5, 2012


You could always go with the singular (and add the indefinite article) across the board:

A Book is like a TARDIS: Bigger on the Inside.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 4:38 PM on August 5, 2012


I'm going to go with "a Tardis:" because it will fit better and I'll have to alter the pattern less. I'm no pro at cross stitching, so slipping in a letter that I already have the pattern for and adding a colon is going to be easier for me.

Any objections?
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:45 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the Third Doctor ever used a plural when he linked his TARDIS with the Master's in The Time Monster, it must have been "TARDISes", or I would have noted it. I have a thing about words and odd plurals. Every other reference to that episode uses "TARDISes".
posted by WasabiFlux at 4:56 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


What? The TARDIS was never a unique thing, at least not until The Doctor ended the Time War by destroying The Daleks, Gallifrey & the rest of the Time Lords an presumably all the other TARDISes.
Does The Master still have a TARDIS stashed away somewhere? I wouldn't be surprised if another one pops up somewhere.

Other TARDISes.

I agree you should go with "a TARDIS", appropriately capitalised. It flows better than TARDISes.
posted by goshling at 5:19 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the 2007 BBC charity special Time Crash they say "Tardises".
posted by XMLicious at 5:23 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


In some of the 5th doctor episodes that take place on Gallifrey, I would swear they used "tardises".

Now I need to go re-watch them to make sure. :)
posted by pla at 5:32 PM on August 5, 2012


One sheep, two sheep.

One TARDIS, two TARDIS.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:58 PM on August 5, 2012


And to add to all the other cites, in Logopolis the Master suggests he and the Doctor rig "our two TARDISes into time cone inverters" to stabilise all of spacetime.
posted by Pinback at 6:10 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


'TARDII' ?
posted by lathrop at 6:17 PM on August 5, 2012


Why would it be anything other than TARDISes?

It's not a Greek or Latin word, so it wouldn't be Tardii or Tardiot or anything like that.

There's no obvious reason for it to be plural like "sheep" or "fish" and simply keep the same form.

For other acronyms/words composed of initials, we just pluralize them like normal English words. For example GPSes.
posted by Sara C. at 7:02 PM on August 5, 2012


Re: Hoyland "...their convention is to use one capital for acronyms that are said as words..."

FWIW, acronyms are by definition said as words. A set of letters that stand for a larger set of words that are not said as words (FBI, TSA, NCAA, whatever) are technically initialisms, not acronyms.

I totally agree with your solution re: TARDIS. A Tardis or The Tardis sounds so much better than Tardises.
posted by griffey at 7:04 PM on August 5, 2012


If you want it to be correct:

1) Always TARDIS, never "The Tardis" (at least not unless you're an author adapting a story in the 1960s), always capitalized.

2) The only time (I think) the plural has been used on screen is in "Logopolis" -- when Adric says TARDISes (and the Doctor doesn't correct him... well, he does correct him, because the Doctor is actually talking about police boxes, not TARDISes themselves)

But it is used in books of similar stories ("The Time Mpnster", "Logopolis", other stories set on Gallifrey, many of the Virgin New Adventures), it's always TARDISes in print.

---
But do want you want. Canon doesn't really count.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:00 PM on August 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually forgot I have a way to search transcripts of all Doctor Who episodes and ebooks -- the Doctor and the Master both use "TARDISes" as well in "Logopolis" and other episodes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:21 PM on August 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


FWIW I happened to watch "The Doctor's Wife" last night and House definitely says "TARDISes".
posted by carsonb at 3:48 AM on August 6, 2012


MCMikeNamara : I actually forgot I have a way to search transcripts of all Doctor Who episodes and ebooks -- the Doctor and the Master both use "TARDISes" as well in "Logopolis" and other episodes.

Share???
posted by pla at 4:21 AM on August 6, 2012


> TARDIS stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. So, the plural would be Times And Relative Dimensions In Space(s), and it would still be spelled TARDIS.

> One sheep, two sheep.

One TARDIS, two TARDIS.


The poster did not ask "What do you think the plural for Tardis should be?" or "What do you think would be a cool plural for Tardis?" The poster asked "What is the 'official' plural for Tardis?" and if you don't know the answer, don't make one up. Plenty of people have made it clear that the correct answer is TARDISes, end of story.
posted by languagehat at 7:32 AM on August 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


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