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The Plural Form of "Software" Is "Software"

Language is a funny thing. No one person invented it. It's evolving constantly. Abbreviations like "YOLO" meandered their way into the Cambridge English dictionary. It keeps up with the times.

Some languages are more difficult than others to learn. I briefly studied Latin in school and think I'm still recovering from the experience. German is a language I speak and understand, but do not love.

Even though my mother was a language teacher (French and German), I'm certainly not an expert.

Yet, having heard and misheard a certain word spoken incorrectly over the past 25 years of my life, I thought it time to at least gain some clarity on the word "software."

Or, specifically, the use of "softwares." I've heard it and read it many, many times over the years, and it just doesn't sound right. "Softwares companies" doesn't sound right. "Choose the right softwares" doesn't sound right. "I've been selling softwares all my life" doesn't sound right.

So, like a crazy person, I Googled the answer (behold, another verb that didn't exist 25 years ago).

The answer may surprise you. But it probably won't.

The plural form of software is software. "Software" - like petrol, furniture, gold, butter, and milk - is a mass noun (uncountable noun, or non-count noun).

Merriam-Webster defines a mass noun as

"a noun that denotes a homogeneous substance or a concept without subdivisions and that in English is preceded in indefinite singular constructions by some rather than a or an."

Compare that to the definition of count noun and you'll understand the difference.

Whatever the quantity of it, it's all just software.