act vs action


Senior Member
What we need is _____, not words.

Use acts or actions? Any reasons? Thanks.
Last edited:
  • AVim

    Senior Member
    Hi guys, I changed both 'act' and 'action' into plural forms in the original post. :p So which one is preferred this time? But it causes another confusion for me, why we should use 'is' combined with those plural nouns? I mean to use the 'actions', 'words' with 'is'?

    How about saying "What we need are (acts/actions), not words." ?
    Thanks again.


    English - American (West)
    The most commonly-heard expression is:

    What we need is action, not words.

    'Act(s)' sounds weird in this phrase, and although one could just as well say "what we need are actions, not words", this is less common.


    Senior Member
    japanese japan
    From the wordreference dictionary, the fourth definition of 'action' is as below:

    actions, habitual or usual acts;
    conduct:He is responsible for his actions.

    「5 More U.S. Nukes to Close, Will Diablo Canyon Be Next?」 (EcoWatch 2016/6/17)
    5 More U.S. Nukes to Close, Will Diablo Canyon Be Next?

    A rising tsunami of U.S. nuke shut-downs may soon include California’s infamous Diablo Canyon double reactors. But it depends on citizen action, including a statewide petition.


    Why is it 'action', not 'actions'? Is it because 'action' means future acts?

    If so, is it OK to say, "Citizen actions made XXX reactors shut down three years ago."?

    Thanks in advance.
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