training / trainings || Do a training

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sleepy sheep, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. sleepy sheep Member

    Japanese - Japan
    I'd like to make sure that the word "training" is uncountable and that it is always used in the form of "training (without "s") or "a training".

    1. Training can be done in various ways.
    2. A training can be done in varoius ways.
    3. Trainings can be done in various ways.

    I think 1 and 2 are correct, and 3 is incorrect. Am I right?
    If 3 is a mistake, is there any chance that a native speaker of English make such a mistake? (Actually, it is described in a document from Australia.)

    Replies from native speakers would be appreciated.
  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Hello SS. As far as I (personally) am concerned, training is only an uncountable noun ~ which would make only your sentence 1 correct.

    To make it countable you need to add words here and there:
    A course of training can be done ...
    Training periods are held ...

    It's a failing in English.

    Native speakers make all kinds of weird and wonderful mistakes ~ anything's possible!:D
  3. Welshie

    Welshie Senior Member

    England, English
    Not at all. It's just the way things are.

    I have seen "training" used as a shorthand for "a training session", and therefore "trainings" becomes possible. I don't like this though, it doesn't sound good at all :S
  4. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Let's call it a 'lacuna', then:)
  5. sleepy sheep Member

    Japanese - Japan
    Thank you for your reply, ewie and Welsie! :)

    So... let me confirm.

    - Although one of online English-Japanese dictionaries, which is called "Excite", says that "training" is used in the form of "training" or "a training", it is wrong. "Training" is never used with "a" unless it is used with other words, like "a course of training" or "a training course". It's unlikely that a dictionary is wrong, but I believe if native speakers says so. :)

    - In the document from Australia, "trainings" is used many times, so it is not a careless mistake. The author wrote it intentionally. But it is still possible the author is a native speaker.

    - Even if native speakers use "trainings", it shouldn't be used in a formal document (based on the fact that a native speaker feels it doesn't sound good).

    Is all of the above correct?
  6. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Could you please provide some samples of "a training" as used by this and or other Japanese dictionaries or English teaching books?

    If you are relying on such a dictionary, I wonder why you asked the question that you did - you must have some doubts about this...:)

    What "document"? Again, we need some context and preferably some sample sentences to understand and explain.

    I know of no native-speakers who use "trainings".
  7. Tacocat Member

    Lawrence, KS
    United States - English
    Hello everyone,

    I am wondering if this doesn't come down to regionalism or personal preference. A number of my coworkers were lamenting that even though we went to "a week-long training" ("a training") last year, we are obliged to attend "another training" this year for the same job. I even heard someone say they didn't know why we needed "multiple trainings." It seems that people use the word "training" as a shorter alternative to "a session/course of training (for a job or profession)." Perhaps this sounds wretched to native English speakers of other regions, but it sounds okay to me.
    However, if the "training" in question were the sort of training that an athlete does before a competition, I would say that this sort of training is not a noun, but a gerund form like "dancing" and is therefore not to be counted or pluralized; to make it a noun I would talk about the training as divided into sessions and the duration of these sessions. "Katherine went to five training sessions a week before the triathlon" is possible, but not "Katherine went to five *trainings a week." (Personally, I would just say "Katherine trained five times a week.") Maybe whether or not "training" is a count or non-count noun comes down to semantic distinctions between different types of training.
  8. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Well, I have to say I was a little surprised to find over 4 million hits for the google search "trainings -training" and over 12 million for simple "trainings" The use as a countable is quite well established - mainly, it seems, in the context Tacocat mentions it, as a shortened version of "training course" or "training session".
    We must move in the wrong circles - or we just move in circles while others move on :(
  9. sleepy sheep Member

    Japanese - Japan
    Hello Tacocat, thank you for your reply. Your explanation is easy to understand and very helpful. :) How about using "a training" or "trainings" in an official document? Does it still sound okay to you?

    Hello Dimcl, thank you for your reply.
    This is the dictionary I wrote about, and this is the only dictionary I can find which says "a training" is okay.
    At first I didn't post the URL because this is "English Only" forum (and I don't think many people here read Japanese).
    It says [U] [or a -], which means it is an uncountable noun but it can be used in the form of "a training" too.
    I do have doubts about the dictionary. That's why I asked here. I mean dictionaries are in general reliable, but I have doubts about this one.

    I mean the document in my first post. It's a business document from Australia. This document describes how to conduct and record staff training in the company. I don't know whether this is written by an Australian because there are many non-native speakers in an multi-national company.
    In the document, it is written that "Trainings can be done in various ways." as I wrote in my first post as Example 3. And in the same document, the author uses "trainings" many times. So it's not a careless mistake. This person thinks "trainings" is okay.
    So, although you wrote "not" in red letters, what I meant is opposite. In response to ewie's "Native speakers make all kinds of weird and wonderful mistakes ", I wanted to confirm that native speakers do make such a mistake (using "trainings"), not as a careless mistake.
  10. Tacocat Member

    Lawrence, KS
    United States - English
    Hi again,
    Hmmm... although I have no problem with the colloquial usage of "another training" and "multiple trainings," I would hesitate to use "training" and a count noun in any official context. I would sooner write something like: "A number of Tacocat's coworkers complained of having to attend multiple courses of training/complained of having to repeat their training a second time/complained that they would have to repeat the training (sessions/course) of the previous year."
    So, basically, since it is perhaps too informal (even for me, an American) to pluralize or count "training" in a formal document, and because several other native speakers from different regions didn't like the way it sounds at all, I would avoid it altogether in official writing and use a formulation like the ones I proposed above. Sometimes there are hard and fast rules for usage of a language, but sometimes the choice is up to the person producing speech or text and is simply a question of style. I suspect that this is more the latter than the former!
  11. sleepy sheep Member

    Japanese - Japan
    I see. Thank you very much!

    JulianStuart, yes, I was surprised when I did the Google search too. Thank you for your help!
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2009
  12. Camlearner Senior Member


    I also just have a question about whether or not training with s.

    Now I find the following sentence from

    Because the website contact ( ) is in US, so it seems like US English use training with s.

  13. Tacocat Member

    Lawrence, KS
    United States - English
    Your example reminds me of just how complicated the question actually is. While it is true that the site is a US government site and should be upholding usage of correct English, there are plenty of native speakers who say things in English that look and sound awful to me. People these days say things like "The decision impacted the company," which is a usage that I cannot stand, since "impact" is what one object does to another in a collision. I think they should say "affected" or "made an impact on." There's also the matter that people use made-up words like "conversate" unwittingly, persuaded that they are real and useful (what about "converse?"). People also make typos, or simply make mistakes in grammar and usage. Not everyone who writes and puts something on the Internet is correct. You should be aware of this when doing research on the Internet; this also applies to researching language use. Just because it's there doesn't mean that it's right.

    I am something of a formalist and believe that there is a correct way to speak and an incorrect one. While many people use "training" in the plural, and you will certainly be understood if you do the same, some people, like me, think it sounds wrong. However, people like me (I'm a Ph.D. student) may be educated, but we don't represent the majority of speakers. The thing about language is that it is often in flux, shifting from one model of usage to another, with different groups of people disagreeing about which usage is correct. Language tends to evolve away from old, prescriptive usage into newer forms that reflect how some groups of people speak.

    For this reason, I am not going to say that "trainings" is wrong, even though I don't think it sounds good, and even though my spell-checker just underlined it in red, indicating that the word with an S isn't in the dictionary. I would recommend using "training sessions" or even "training meetings" or "training courses," or orienting the expression away from "training" altogether. However, I do not represent all English speakers, as you can see from the examples where you found people using it that way. It is your choice as to whether you want to avoid using "trainings" because learned native English speakers like me think it is wrong, just as it is your choice to go ahead and use it because a certain percentage of native speakers use it, even if the rest of us don't agree that it's correct.
  14. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    Probably simpler to stick to "training."
  15. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    English - US (Midwest)
    I have used "training" to mean "a training session" many times ("Don't bother hitting the rack - we have training in ten minutes"), but I would never consider using "trainings" as a plural form.
  16. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Neither would I.

    Do not assume, camlearner, that everything you read on U.S. websites is good English, especially when the writers are starry-eyed bureaucrats tending to lapse into jargon and gibberish.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  17. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    The page to which you linked (which doesn't have the word "trainings", although it may be somewhere on the site) is that of a law firm. Lawyers are not necessarily grammar authorities. "Trainings" is wrong.
  18. Camlearner Senior Member

    Thanks everyone.

    Ok, so it's either training or training courses.

    I still have another relevant question.

    Can I say: I have a/one/another/(nothing) training to take next week?

    For plural form, I now understand that I should say: I have 2 training courses to take next month.

    Tacocat's suggested 'training meetings' reminds me of someone who says 'training seminar o training workshop'.
  19. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    In my opinion, none of them, since training is either an adjective or an uncountable noun. The following would be possible:

    I have a training session next week. I have training sessions next week. I have more training next week.
    I have a training seminar (if it is a lecture) / training workshop (if you will be performing activities) next week.
    I have training next week.
  20. Camlearner Senior Member

    Thanks Parla.

    I now complete my training in/on how to use the word 'training'.
  21. Ultramarine

    Ultramarine Senior Member

    << Moderator's note: This new question has been added to an existing thread. >>

    Hi all,
    I have seen sentences with "training" as a countable noun, for example, "the company provides various trainings for its staff". Assuming that "a training" is the same as "a training course", what verbs collocate with it? Do we "do a training"? Or "go to a training"? Sometimes "a training" is not the same as a training course - I can think of a training that lasts a couple of hours. Does that affect the choice of verb?
    Many thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2014
  22. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    It varies from place to place. I know that Marks and Spencer employees do a training; in my work-place we do not.

    EDIT: The OED gives these examples of countable trainings.

    1598 I. D. tr. L. Le Roy Aristotles Politiques viii. iii. 384 It appeareth, is needfull to learne certaine things, and to be instructed and trained in the same, and that these instructions and trainings be vndertaken for their sakes which learn.
    1780 J. Green Plan for Better Regulation Mariners 1 The plan. To increase our number of mariners by putting them under proper trainings, so that boys may be real mariners.
    1826 A. Henderson Pract. Grazier i. 64 The horse, from regular trainings to dread the whip and fear the voice,..will become all alive from even seeing the one or hearing the other.
    1882 45th Ann. Rep. Superintendent of Public Instr. Michigan 1881 284 We all see the importance of some kind of gymnastic training to give the children erect, graceful forms... Teachers agree on the value of such trainings.
    1923 Boys' Life Mar. 50/4 Scottie surprised his team with a thirty-pound sled in place of the seventy-pound one which he had used in trainings.
    1988 T. Vellela New Voices v. 64 That's something we teach in the trainings, that victories are not going to come in a month or two.
    2003 Yoga Jrnl. Nov. 24/3, I was recently in a training where the instruction was given in a forward bend to ‘blossom your buttocks’.

    Of these, 1882, 1988, 1923 and 2003 would appear to be "American English".
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  23. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    In American English we would not do "a training." Training is an uncountable noun in AE.
  24. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    I'm amazed to find that anyone (especially dear Marks and Spencer) uses "a" training. I thought it was only bad translations from French which said that.

    I think foreign learners would be well advised to avoid this entirely. Training is the uncountable, a course is the countable; compare "a course of training" with "a loaf of bread".
  25. While I won't i propose "a training" is acceptable everywhere or say that it was not formerly regarded as an uncountable noun, I find this now to be very common usage in AE and have heard it for quite long time, particularly by trainers in a workplace: "I gave a training today." (Not more than one session). I suppose it because of the rapidity of the utterance, over and done with. So it is being used as a countable noun by some, but would agree foreign learners should avoid it.
  26. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    My informant in M&S is now backtracking on his allegation! He speaks good English but is not a native speaker, and I am now beginning to wonder if his use of "a training" is his idiosyncrasy.
  27. Linkway Senior Member

    British English
    Training is an uncountable noun. If someone said "I did a training yesterday" it is a simple error or a shortening of "...a training session" for example.

    In the specific context of Marks & Spencer, it should be noted that they are undergoing a major reorganisation called "Plan A" that requires a lot staff training.

    Hence, on their corporate website the mention of people doing "Plan A training" is quite correct but a different use of "a" with "training".
  28. Linkway Senior Member

    British English
    "Training for top 100 executives in sustainability and ensuring every single one of M&S’ international employees receives Plan A training;"

    The above is a bullet point item from a list of actions on Marks & Spencer's corporate website.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014
  29. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    So what's "Plan A" training? It doesn't prove the point either way, but perhaps that's the point?
  30. Linkway Senior Member

    British English
    Simply, training that staff will need to implement Plan A, the new roles, skill, attitudes, relationships, responsibilities, etc that are part of Plan A.

    The only reason I mentioned it was to suggest how a "casual" reader/listener might have thought (wrongly) that Marks & Spencer used sentences like "We need to plan a training for...."
  31. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Moderator's note:

    This thread has been added to a previous discussion. Please scroll up and read from the top.

    Cagey, moderator.
  32. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
  33. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    ... and if you look in detail at the cited sources, many of them are foreign-based - French in particular. This is not good English.

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