Is 'News' Singular or Plural?

by Craig Shrives
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"News" (Singular or Plural?)

The word "news" is singular, even though it ends with "s." This means that the following are correct:
  • The news is good. correct tick
  • The news was sad. correct tick
  • What is the news? correct tick
Therefore, the following are incorrect:
  • The news are good. wrong cross
  • The news were sad. wrong cross
  • What are the news? wrong cross
Of note, this page was written in October 2021, when Amazon's Alexa updated its news service and advised users to ask: "Alexa, what are the news?" Amazon should have advised its Alexa users to ask: "Alexa, what is the news?"

More about "News"

The word "news" is a singular, non-countable noun. This means it does not have a plural form. (Other non-countable nouns are "sunshine," "knowledge," and "music." Just as you cannot say "sunshines," "knowledges," or "musics," so you cannot say "newses.")

As "news" is a non-countable noun, you also cannot say the following:
  • a news wrong cross
  • many news wrong cross
  • large quantity of news wrong cross
However, you can say the following:
  • the news correct tick
  • much news correct tick
  • large amount of news correct tick
  • some news correct tick
  • a lot of news correct tick
Read more about using "amount," "quantity," and "number" with non-countable nouns.

Making "News" Plural

The word news is typically made plural using the following two methods:

(1) Add "bits" or "pieces"
  • I have three bits of news. correct tick
  • I have three pieces of news. correct tick
(2) Use "news" like an adjective with "stories" or "items"
  • I have three news stories. correct tick
  • I have three news items. correct tick

Making "News" Singular

As we've covered, "news" is singular, but you cannot say "a news" or "one news." To talk about one piece of news, you can use the same methods as for the plurals:

(1) Add "bit" or "piece"
  • I have a bit of news. correct tick
  • I have one piece of news. correct tick
(2) Use "news" like an adjective with "story" or "item"
  • I have one news story. correct tick
  • I have a news item. correct tick
is news singular or plural?

Real-Life Examples

Here are some real-life quotations featuring the word "news":
  • The good news about computers is that they do what you tell them to do. The bad news is that they do what you tell them to do. (Philosopher Ted Nelson) correct tick
  • (Notice that "news" is singular.)
  • It's amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. (Comedian Jerry Seinfeld) correct tick
  • (Notice that "news" attracts "amount" not "quantity.")

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