The plural form of vocabulary


I’ve thought vocabulary is used only in the singular form. But I found some examples of its plural form- vocabularies - in corpus ( in which case do you use in that way?

For example, “Talk to the world through English vocabularies” What about this? Do you think it’s okay or totally wrong? If you have some opinion, please let me know why.


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Use the plural when you are talking about the sets of words of several languages, dialects or argots.

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Thank you for your attention, MM.

So, I think I may say like, “vocabularies of English dialects”. But for my example “Talk to the world through English ________”, I think “vocabulary” is more appropriate for the blank because variety is not concerened in the phrase. In other words, the writer considers English words themselves a whole.


Well, the word ‘vocabulary’ is an uncountable noun. So, can I say ‘memorise all the pieces of the vocabulary here’?

i don’t know. it’s better to ask Mr. Kitosdad.

I think you just need to use some, a lot of or all information.

No, you would say, “Memorize all the vocabulary words here.” You could just say, “Memorize all the vocabulary here.”

Each component of the vocabulary is called a “vocabulary word”.

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To gild the lily, but ‘vocabulary’ is also a countable noun.

My understanduing is …

The word vocabulary does not have a plural and no plural is required because vocabulary IS already plural! (it can be thought of as a plural form of uncountable noun) It is an extension of WORDS.

You should say: “The vocabulary of English dialects” or as another example, the “The different vocabulary of English dialects” or “All the different vocabulary used in different English dialects” or “all the different vocabulary in the many languages of the world”

Unlike for instance “WATER” which is also an uncountable noun, but in this case it is a singular uncountable noun.

Therefore, if we call a land mass of water “water” and a knight travelled over many “land masses of water” to find sleeping beauty, then we could say he travelled the “waters” to find his princess!

But as time goes on, there will be more and more language references to ways and words in English that have changed. In this case, the “golden oldies” such as me, will always meet the “clever cocky person” that throws dictionary after dictionary at us.

[b]I will never forget one of the largest language testing organizations in the world writing to me because I commented on one of their tests to inform them, that the audio “did you do the exam yet” was a grammatical error and should in fact be “have you done it yet”.

Their reply was … “In America that is how we speak and although we accept that it may be an incorrect grammar form, it is American English therefore we will not change it”[/b]

To me the word “vocabularies” sits like a blob of something dark, brown, nasty and horrible on a plain of fluffy white snow!

Yes, but “vocabularies” means more than one collection of words. The issue here is that many Europeans make the mistake of calling each individual word “a vocabulary”, which is completely wrong in English. A vocabulary cannot be just one word.

The Germans often confuse the word ‘vocabulary’ with the German word ‘Vokabel’ which is countable.
TOEIC listening, photographs: Working on a power transmission line

Correct Jamie

vocabulary has no singular (it can’t have because it is a word that represents all words and if it represents all words, there cannot be ONE ALL WORDS)

“the language has 6 million words”
“the language has a vocabulary of 6 million words”

Vocabulary cannot be used in singular form … but I am sure someone will disagree! Here look at good ole Leo…

der ausgewählten Wörter im Trainer 2 Treffer
Unmittelbare Treffer
vocable die Vokabel
word die Vokabel

Oh you are so correct Torsten … I hear it everyday !!

Grammatically, the word ‘vocabulary’ is singular because it requires a singular verb form:
Her active vocabulary is very big.

The noun ‘information’ is uncountable and requires a singular verb form too:
The information is correct.

TOEIC listening, photographs: Working on the bridge structure

Uncountable nouns (whether default singular or plural) are in fact singular in grammatical form, BUT not always in meaning. This is where many people get really confused.

Vocabulary is PLURAL in meaning and as an uncountable noun SINGULAR in grammar form.

Look up - “Vocable” - In speech, a vocable is an utterance, term, or word that is capable of being spoken and recognized. A non-lexical vocable is used without semantic role or …

So what exactly is ‘incorrect’, Rob? I wrote that grammatically ‘vocabulary’ is singular. Why would that be incorrect?

TOEIC listening, photographs: A sun set on the beach

And please take a look at a dictionary’s definition:

It shows the word not only has a pl. form but also is able to take the indefinite article as long as the WORD “vocabulary” (not only its meaning) is concerned.

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