When I was growing up, my Dad did the grocery shopping. My Mom would make a shopping list and my brothers and I would go with my Dad to help him shop.1To ride on the cart, throw paper towels and toilet paper into the cart, get a slice of cheese from the deli, get free samples, or for the chance to get a candy bar at checkout. Every now and then, my Dad would have coupons2My Dad is a coupon fiend. He would scour the newspaper for them each week. He even had a coupon container where he kept all of them. or there would be sales on items that we wouldn’t normally get.
One of the items that would find its way into the shopping cart when the stars aligned was a box of Cheez-It crackers. These little cheese squares are delicious. Terrible for you? Probably, most definitely. It didn’t matter. They were the perfect combination of salty and cheesy and crunchy. To this day, it remains my favorite snack. To be clear, I’m talking about the Original flavor Cheez-It. I know there are a lot of other tasty flavors: white cheddar,3I used to hate this flavor when I was a kid, but as I’ve matured, so have my taste buds and I now think it’s a good flavor. extra toasty, big,4I know big isn’t techinically a flavor, but it’s listed as one on the Cheez-It website, so it counts. It also tastes different, like how shaped mac and cheese tastes different/better than regular mac and cheese. whole grain (for health), and classic Snack Mix. I’m old school when it comes to snack flavors. Original all the way. Don’t even mention Reduced Fat. It doesn’t taste the same.
There were times when there would be no coupons for Cheez-It. Or Cheez-It wouldn’t be on sale. However, there would be a sale or a coupon for a different brand of cheese crackers. Cheese Nips. Cheese Nips are not the same as Cheez-It. Cheese Nips are not as good as Cheez-It. Cheese Nips are not a good alternative to Cheez-It. In fact, it’s a disappointing alternative.
My entire family agrees with this analysis, except my Dad. He always insisted they were the same thing. He has even said that Cheese Nips are better. When I was in college, my parents would sometimes ask if I wanted any snacks brought up when they were coming to visit me. I would always put Cheez-It on the list. Most of the time, that request would be fulfilled. Sometimes, it wouldn’t and Cheese Nips would be brought instead. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t thankful for free food. But getting a box of Cheese Nips brought to you when you were expecting Cheez-It is like buying tickets to watch a match between Messi and Ronaldo and it ends 0-0. The worst.5My Dad recently had a dream (technically a nightmare?) where his boss asked him to bring snacks to some event and was given a list. On that list, was Cheez-It. When the time came for the event though, my Dad had unknowingly purchased Cheese Nips instead and he got reprimanded by his boss. My Dad was so upset he disappointed his boss. I blame myself for this, but also Cheese Nips are worse.
Now that that debate is settled, it’s time for the real debate. Just so we’re clear, this is not sponsored in any way by Cheez-It. I just love them so much, I wanted to write something about them. However, if Cheez-It wants to sponsor me, I’m totally open to the idea. Call me.
What I really want to talk about is the correct way to pluralize Cheez-It. To be fair, Cheese Nips is a better name than Cheez-It. Having the brand name already plural helps establish that the little crackers you are about to eat are cheese nips. It’s great brand recognition.
Cheez-It on the other hand is the brand name and you are about to eat a box of crackers. Of all the times I’ve referred to Cheez-It, I put it in the plural on my own. I sometimes forget that it’s not plural by default. This debate came to me when I was at work one day and someone on Slack said “Cheez-Its”. In my mind, this was incorrect. I always saw it as “Cheez-Itz”. I decided to create a poll in Slack and polled three options: 1) “Cheez-Itz”, 2) “Cheez-Its”, 3) “Cheez-It’s”.6It was never going to be #3, but someone recommended it and I have actually seen it used that way before, so I included it too. The results had a pretty split result, but “Cheez-Its” ended up with a few more votes than “Cheez-Itz”. This fight isn’t over though. Let’s look at the options more in depth.
No. It’s not this one. It doesn’t really make sense. “It’s” means it is or it has, so Cheez-It’s would translate to Cheez-It is and that doesn’t make it plural. It could also be Cheez-It has, which makes even less sense and also doesn’t make it plural.
No.7This one only appeared because when I was doing some research I saw a question on Quora that proposed this option.
This one has a solid argument. Normally when you want to make something plural, you add an “s” to the end of the word. Snack becomes snacks. Cracker becomes crackers. So on and so forth. The logic is sound to just add an “s” to the end of Cheez-It to make it plural. The problem is that “Its” is possessive. Cheez-It is the brand name. This makes the crackers belong to the brand. “Its” doesn’t indicate plurality. It only indicates possession. I want to find a word that encapsulates that I’m talking about multiple Cheez-It crackers at a given time. For example, I took a handful of Cheez-It_. “Its” wouldn’t work because there is no word after it to show what belongs to Cheez-It. You’d have to say, I took a handful of Cheez-Its crackers. Which makes “Its” not the correct way to pluralize Cheez-It.
The Cheez-It brand itself makes two arguments for this version. My original thinking for “Itz” revolved around the idea that Cheez-It already replaced an “s” with a “z” in the first part of its name. Therefore, you could carry that logic into the second part when you would normally pluralize something with an “s” by using a “z” instead. By using a “z” instead of an “s” you are creating new rules. “Cheese” was already switched to “Cheez”. Switching “Its” to “Itz” creates new rules. You no longer have to follow the same rules for how “Its” is used. The “z” becomes the plural equivalent for how an “s” would normally be used and it works. I can now say, I took a handful of Cheez-Itz and people know I took multiple Cheez-It crackers.
The other key part of this argument is their branding of Duoz. They replaced the “s” in duos with a “z”. If they felt that pluralizing Cheez-It should be with an “s” they would’ve called this brand “Duos”.8Before you mention the Cheez-It Grooves crackers. Grooves is used as a descriptor of the type of cracker, not talking about plural crackers. Also, they should’ve called them Groovz.
Cheez-Itz is the correct way to pluralize Cheez-It. Cheez-Itz should also be the brand name. If Cheez-It changed to Cheez-Itz they would have the superior cracker and the superior branding. I’m hungry now. Time to go eat some Cheez-Itz.