Submitted by yvonne on April 6, 2010

Plural form of sense of humour

I’d love to know your take on the plural form of sense of humour. Is it sense of humour or senses of humour?

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I would think that it was similar to "time out" which becomes "times out" so it would be senses of humor... however, thinking about it, I generally say something like," Ya'll's sense of humor is sick" so I guess there's that as well. XD

I'm no help.

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Also similar to "court martial" which becomes "courts martial" when plural.

She had a wonderful sense of humor.

They had wonderful senses of humor.

Now about that "u" in humour....

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While I agree that sense of humor would be pluralized as senses of humor, it's a little more complicated than that. Sense of humor is an abstract noun or noun phrase. In many cases, it is not countable and should be treated as a mass noun. For example, "Our sense of humor is what separates us from the animals." I would use "senses of humor" only in cases where I was differentiating between two different senses of humor. Even then it could probably go either way, singular or plural, and still be correct. Try loosely substituting "playfulness" and you'll see that "playfulnesses" will rarely make better sense.

Also, court-martial can be pluralized as both courts-martial and court-martials. And for time-out becoming times-out? I don't think so. It's hyphenated, and can even be written as the single word, timeout. The plural is usually timeouts.

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@Douglas, I'm Canadian, so It's humour for me....
@porsche10x your response was perfect, thanks!

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