“Chief, I’ve got news for you,” says the petite intern journalist as she barged into the newsroom. “Seventy-eight people were actually on board the ship that sank,” she continued.
The gorgeous thirty-five-ish bachelor editor-in-chief placidly, yet sarcastically, responded, “Shouldn’t you call that ‘newses’ instead?”
If you got here on our site after reading something like this, then you maybe want to consider replacing your fiction novels with Jane Straus’ The Blue Book of Grammar — that’s if you want to make your life harder than it already is.
But of course, another option is to just keep reading our regular blog posts that are meticulously tailored to make language learning a no-sweat activity.
Let’s get the party started right away.
What is the plural form of “news”?
In standard English, “news” can be pluralized by adding determiners before it, such as in the phrases “pieces of news,” and “two pieces of news.” Alternatively, we may also add countable nominal entities after it, just like when we say “news items,” “news topics,” and “news stories.”
“News” as a noun in detail
The rise and spread of English as a global language have provoked both native and non-natives in becoming more adept in understanding the subtle nuances behind it.
“News” is a noun that has two different senses, namely, a piece of novel information reported by another person or a TV or radio broadcast of news reports.
Roughly speaking, any information that we find new, unusual, or at least haven’t heard before can be considered as “news.”
Examples of news include stuff like scientists transporting rhinos hanging upside-down from a helicopter in Africa or the least eligible bachelorette in town getting engaged before you.
Nouns like “news” are called “mass nouns” which are inherently uncountable, and thus, pluralizing them makes little to no sense.
While pluralization rules in some languages come easy, doing it in English can either be an enjoyable cakewalk or an excruciating firewalking activity.
The latter is due to the fact that the behavior of the English language has already been narrowly, critically, and painstakingly analyzed over and over by a multitude of experts around the world.
To mention as an example, the plural of “attorney” can be quite confusing in the sense that we might be uncertain whether it should be “attornies” or “attorneys.”
And by extension, the pluralization of nominal (adjective form of ‘noun’) entities is quite challenging because it readily affects how other linguistic elements like pronouns and verbs behave in sentences.
To make this series of explanations even clearer, let’s go over the specifics of mass nouns to be able to make sense of how to turn “news” into its plural form accordingly.
Why we got it all mixed-up: Understanding “news” as a mass noun
Speaking of nouns, do you happen to know what the noun form of “save” is? If not, then you might be surprised to know that there are actually several answers to this query.
Anyways, to continue, mass or non-count nouns are basically distinguishable from count nouns because, as the name suggests, they are basically, well, impossible to count.
To add some technical input, mass nouns contain an undifferentiated or unquantifiable syntactic property in which the human brain would also need to process at a semantic level.
This simply means that we need both syntactic and semantic knowledge and skills to tell mass nouns apart from count nouns, which does not happen overnight, obviously enough.
“News,” although it ends with the letter “s,” is a mass abstract noun that is actually singular in grammatical number, just like “mathematics,” “politics,” “acoustics,” “series,” and “analysis.”
This goes to show that our prior knowledge concerning basic pluralization mechanisms in English, particularly by adding the suffix “-s” or “-es,” is the perpetrator of the confusion.
When we were kids, there was also no functional or utilitarian reason to learn rather complex linguistic terms ending in “s’s” like “physics,” “aerodynamics,” or “stylistics.”
What I’m getting at is that there was just no point in learning why “news” ends in “s” back then.
Besides, it was also simply more fun reading cereal boxes or bathing on flour over breakfast before instead of worrying about this, right?
But since you’ve already become more linguistically competent and curious, it’s about time that you tick this trivial matter off your bucket list.
Pluralizing the mass or non-count noun “news”
The most practical answer to today’s query is to attach the phrase “pieces of” before “news,” which can also be done with many other mass nouns like “advice,” “evidence,” and “information.”
Here are some examples to help you contextualize the explanation:
You may also add a numeral determiner to make your quantification more specific, just like when you say “two or three pieces of news.”
A more general quantifier is also possible, as in “several or many pieces of news,” as shown in the examples below:
Alternatively, you can also add plural forms of countable nouns after “news” to be able to achieve a more specific thought representation, just like “items,” “topics,” “programs,” “elements,” or “stories.”
In a nutshell, prior knowledge on determiners and count nouns are inarguably necessary for forming various plural forms of the mass noun “news” correctly.
If you have been keen on knowing the nuances behind the pluralization of “news,” perhaps you would also be interested in knowing whether “sent me” or “sent to me” is grammatically well-formed.
Pluralizing uncountable nouns for stylistic reasons
Now that we already know how to pluralize “news” according to what we exactly want to convey in conventional English, let’s also look into why we are able to read the word “newses” every once in a while.
Take note that language is a living organism that is pivotal in shaping the way we think, behave, and do things, and vice versa.
Language is also a whimsical entity that meanwhile serves as a portal so we could let the best of our inner thoughts come out, and thus, we can also use it for self-expression purposes.
In some of your past readings or interactions with people, you might have encountered the unusual parlance of “newses.”
However, you might have also been unable to understand the full context that governed its usage, thereby leaving you scratching your head in doubt.
Remember that sentence and word structure rules (i.e., syntax and morphology) are not the only ones governing how a language operates because stylistics also does.
Bear in mind that the human mind is powerful and creative enough to also use the literary form of language in the expression of thought.
That said, we can deduce that language users may also go an extra mile to represent their inner thoughts more accurately, artistically, and persuasively to evoke interest among audiences.
Hence, the unconventional use of the term “newses” is actually due to the language user’s intent to convey his or her literary side, which is emphatic, compelling, and even humorous at times.
Apart from the example given in the introduction part of our post, you may also refer to the usage of “newses” below to get this explanation down pat.
Hannah: “I think you meant only ‘one’.”
If you were able to understand the real meaning behind Hannah’s response, then you would find yourself either laughing, smiling, or at least cringing right now.
And, I’m not going to explain what just happened there because that would definitely ruin the joke.
By the way, speaking of jokes, have you ever heard of “puns”?
Actually, you can also try expressing your humorous side by simply understanding the meaning and usage of “pun intended” in English.
Feel free to bring about your humorous nature to be able to cope with the most pressing socio-economic issues at present.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Pluralizing the Word ‘News’”
Is it correct to say “a news”?
Using the indefinite article “a” right before “news” is considered grammatically incorrect in standard English. Saying “a piece of news” is more acceptable instead.
Should we say “some news is” or “some news are”?
Based on this question alone, the more grammatically correct version is “some news is.” However, we can already use the linking verb “are” if we add the phrase “pieces of” before “news,” thereby forming “some pieces of news are.”
Do we say “this news” or “these news”?
If you are referring to a singular news story or item, you have to specifically use “this.” But, you can use “these” if you pluralize “news” appropriately, as in “these pieces of news are.”
Language use is inherently dependent on a variety of components like syntax, morphology, semantics, stylistics, pragmatics, and so on.
As long as languages remain this way and their users simultaneously stay creative along the way, interesting linguistic interpretations will also keep coming to light, just like the one you’re reading today.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.