information - a plural form ?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Pritchard, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. Pritchard New Member

    I'd like to know whether or not the noun 'information' has a plural form.
    It was my understanding that it was not the case.
    If I'm wrong, in which context does it carry an 's'. The particular sentence in which I have seen and it looks wrong to me is :
    'practical informations'.
  2. cesarynati Senior Member

    français suisse
    no, information soesn't have an "S" at the end.
    General Information, practical information, useful information etc...
  3. swyves

    swyves Senior Member

    UK English, Living in Peru
    I can't think of a situation in which "practical informations", or any "informations" would be correct.

    "Practical information's a load of baloney, innit?"
  4. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    If I recall the terminology correctly, information is non-countable noun. You can speak of a piece of information, or bits of information, but information itself cannot be counted. Therefore, it does not have a plural form.

  5. Vickyhere Senior Member

    If it is singular, is it correct to say:

    It needs other information.

    Even though it needs information(s) or have I to say

    It needs others information


    It needs more information

    or (much better)

    It needs further information

  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Information is a non-count noun.
    It is neither singular nor plural :)

    If you don't have enough information then the simplest statement is:
    I need more information.

    The example sentences with "It" as subject sound a bit odd.
  7. SleepingLeopard Senior Member

    English - United States (New York)
    I agree. If you don't have a specific subject (I, we, etc.), I think you're better off using the passive voice.

    More information is needed.
  8. screzic New Member

    English- American, Spanish- American
    It is my duty to inform you that saying informations is not incorrect. It is uncommon, but not incorrect.


    The computer must process the informations before it can load the screen.
  9. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    Other languages have nouns that mean:"piece of information".

    People who speak languages that have such nouns always stumble over our strange word.

    In English, as strange as it sounds, we have to talk about:

    a piece of information
    pieces of information

    This is why "informations" :cross: is one of the most frequently made mistakes in English by non-natives. :)

  10. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    English English
    The 'genuine singular' of information is piece/item of information, so:
    I need just one more piece of information from you ~ your name.
    Two more items of information are needed before we can send off the form.

    EDIT: by the way, I agree with previous posters who have classed informations as downright wrong. Even in a computery context it just sounds illiterate to me ~ I'd expect to read data in Screzic's example.
  11. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with ewie (hurrah, first time in weeks!).

    "Informations" is incorrect. You do come across it, but it's always an error.
  12. screzic New Member

    English- American, Spanish- American
    Kind Sirs.

    I still disagree.

    It is not wrong to say informations. It's kinda like the word Cactus. We know we should say cacti when speaking pluraly, but we (Americans) often say Cactuses.

    In terms of information, we are used to never hearing it with an s. However, that does not make it incorrect. Again, it is just uncommon.

    As for piece of information. You would say pieces of informations.
  13. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I have just realised I lied. The OED tells me "an information" (plural: "informations") is the term for a specific type of legal complaint or charge.

    Not always an error, then.

    But I still disagree with our lone voice screzic;)
  14. SleepingLeopard Senior Member

    English - United States (New York)
    The only time I have seen "informations" is either as an adjective (informations systems - not the same use of the word), or in something in archaic or legal language, where I believe the word is part of a phrase in French (phrases in French relating to specialized terminology are often 100% identical to English when written - just pronounced differently).

    The word "information" came directly from French, and while French uses the plural "informations", English does not.
  15. screzic New Member

    English- American, Spanish- American
    Behold! For it is I! Screzic the incredible? LOL I'm just teasing. However... I must add that informations is not just correct when referring to ancient legalities. It is appropriate all of the time. Or at least the vasy majority of the time. And whether or not it came from French-land has no merit here.
  16. SleepingLeopard Senior Member

    English - United States (New York)
    The reason I mentioned the French connection is that many legal terms, etc. in English came from French, and are often not translated as there is no need. Thousands of words in the two languages are identical when written, and as things change over time, sometimes the original French spelling is left, even though the English one has changed. I think "informations" is one of these things that has "slipped through the cracks" (since it's very difficult to change legal terminology).

    I still think that except in these archaic, set phrases, the use of "informations" in modern English is completely wrong.
  17. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    I can.

    In certain American jurisdictions, an "information" is a type of written instrument that can be used to commence or to prosecute a criminal action. A typical traffic ticket, for example might be formally named "a traffic information". I can therefore imagine a courthouse clerk saying "Put the felony indictments in this file, and the misdemeanor informations in that file."

    Other than using it as a plural of a written instrument called "an information", though, I also cannot think of another use for the word informations.
  18. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    German also borrowed the word from French, retains the same spelling, and forms plural with "s". For precisely this reason, "informations", used in place of "information", is one of the most common English mistakes I see in the writing of people from those two countries—at least those two.

    For this reason I would discourage people learning English to use "informations". Period. If they use the form with "s", it is almost 100% certain that they will be wrong.
  19. SleepingLeopard Senior Member

    English - United States (New York)
    I couldn't agree more. This is what the English learners should pay attention to as our final conclusion, rather than the few, uncommon places where you may see "informations" written.
  20. Lucy-La Member

    Chhaktiang Kawlrawn, Mizo

    I was looking for this information; Whether or not 'Information' has plural form. Since it is better to use it without an 's', would it be right to say-

    "All the information are provided by....."?

  21. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Lucy

    No, it's "all the information is provided" :)
  22. Lucy-La Member

    Chhaktiang Kawlrawn, Mizo
    Hi Loob..:)

    Thanks. I'll remember that.
  23. Meow-meow

    Meow-meow Member

    According to Wiktionary, information can be plural when we refer to court filings.

  24. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Please read back through this thread.
    You will discover references to information (countable) being correct in a very specific context.
  25. Editor India

    Editor India Member

    With regard to the discussion that "information" has no plural form, I post two statements here.

    A: Pieces of information received from different sources were inconsistent.
    B: Information received from different sources was inconsistent.

    I am able to associate myself with the sentence A, not B.

    Can B be a valid sentence, considering that the sense conveyed here is multiple pieces received from multiple sources?
  26. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Welcome to the forum, Editor India. :)

    Sentence B is fine.

    We can all contribute information, even though the information each of us contribute is different.

    We can also all contribute pieces of information, if we want to emphasize that each of us is contributing something different.

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