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.
  • The news was sad.
  • What is the news?
Therefore, the following are incorrect:
  • The news are good.
  • The news were sad.
  • What are the news?
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
  • many news
  • large quantity of news
However, you can say the following:
  • the news
  • much news
  • large amount of news
  • some news
  • a lot of news
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.
  • I have three pieces of news.
(2) Use "news" like an adjective with "stories" or "items"
  • I have three news stories.
  • I have three news items.

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.
  • I have one piece of news.
(2) Use "news" like an adjective with "story" or "item"
  • I have one news story.
  • I have a news item.
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)
  • (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)
  • (Notice that "news" attracts "amount" not "quantity.")
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See Also

Unusual plurals Treating collective nouns as singular or plural Collective nouns – singular or plural? Either – singular or plural? Agenda – singular or plural? Data – singular or plural? Media – singular or plural? List of easily confused words

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