Is "Agenda" Singular or Plural?

by Craig Shrives

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Should I write "agenda is" or "agenda are"?

"Agenda" is singular. The plural of "agenda" is "agendas."

More about "Agenda"

"Agenda" is the Latin plural of the word "agendum." However, nowadays, "agenda" is not treated as a plural word.

Over time, the word "agenda" has shed all signs of its plural past. In modern English, it is treated as a singular word with the plural form "agendas." (The word "agenda" means "a list of items of business to be considered or addressed." Just like the word "list," it ought to be treated as singular.)
agenda is or agenda are? (singular or plural?)
(This image from Google's Ngram Viewer shows "agenda is" racing ahead of "agenda are.")

Example Sentences with "Agenda" and "Agendas"

Here are some examples of "agenda" being used as a singular noun and "agendas" being used as its plural form.
  • The agenda is on the second page.
  • All the agendas are displayed on the screen.
  • Feminism's agenda is basic: It asks that women not be forced to choose between public justice and private happiness. (Journalist Susan Faludi)
  • There is a hidden agenda in the fragility of romance. (Fashion designer Alexander McQueen)

Why Is "Agenda" Singular?

An agenda is a list, which is a singular concept. Also, ever since the removal of Latin from the national curriculum, the protection for "agenda" as a plural word has been thinning. So, with the sense of a singular word and no protection to retains its plural status, "agenda" has morphed into a singular word.

"Agenda" is similar to media, which has also shed its plural status. It is also similar to criteria, but "criteria" has retained some of its plural status because "criterion" (the singular form) is still used. Data is another word following the same route as "agenda." "Data" too now carries the sense of a singular word ("a collection of datums" rather than "lots of datums") and its plural protection has been thinning for decades.

Read more about "singular" as a grammatical concept.
Read more about "plural" as a grammatical concept.
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See Also

See more unusual plurals. Take a test on plurals. Collective nouns – singular or plural? Either/or – singular or plural? Data – singular or plural? Media – singular or plural? Criteria – singular or plural? Is "news" singular or plural? More about plurals More about forming the plurals of nouns Subject-verb agreement

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