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Is "Mathematics" a Singular or Plural Noun?

Updated on August 24, 2017

The Great Debate About the Word Mathematics

The word 'mathematics' is one we all know and love, but can we all agree on its part of speech? Mathematics. It is a noun, obviously, but is it in the singular or the plural form?

Many just prefer to shorten 'mathematics' to a mere one syllable for convenience. In North America, the word 'math' is used, but the rest of the world uses 'maths'.

So, who is right?

Let's dig a little deeper into the word Mathematics...

Facts About The Word "Mathematics" - The Cold Hard Facts

Weigh the facts before you decide:

  1. Mathematics originally denoted all the mathematical sciences collectively, including geometry, astronomy, optics, etc.
  2. Mathematics originated from the latin mathematica (plural), from the greek from mathematikos (adjective).
  3. People tend to say "mathematics is ____", the "is" being the singular form of the verb "to be", as opposed to the plural form which would say "mathematics are ________".

The Great Mathematic(s) Debate

Is 'mathematics' a singular or plural noun?

Reader Poll

Statistics are math, so I think a few statistics on the issue of mathematics is only fitting:

Is "mathematics" a singular or plural noun?

See results

An In Depth Look at Mathematic(s) Issue

This is a well done breakdown of the word origin and uses through history that help to indicate its part of speech.

England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

--George Bernard Shaw

Which is correct? 'math' or 'maths'?

Shortening of the word mathematics has been done on both sides of the Atlantic. Americans go to Math Class while Brits attend Maths Class. Does this give us any answers at all to our big question? Which is correct? 'math' or 'maths'?

Which is correct? Math or Maths?

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    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      Well this definitely ignited some debate. I will never agree that it is plural though. Great fun, let us know when you have a definitive answer.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass

      i never thought about this before. :)

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 6 years ago from Royalton

      The word math with an s on the end is just one more key word to add to a delightful lens about mathematics! :)

      Squid Angel Blessed!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Good question! I used to see people use the word "maths" and immediately think they were grammatically incorrect. Now I'm not so sure. I do believe that may be a cultural difference. But when it comes to "mathematics," I stand firm on my belief that it's a singular noun to be followed by "is" not "are."

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 6 years ago

      What a fun topic(s)!

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      What fun!

    • drifter0658 lm profile image

      drifter0658 lm 8 years ago

      I love it when a lens comes together.

      Well done!