What is the plural form of the word “Experience”? Should we just use “Experience” or is “Experiences” the correct one?
We understand that plural forms can sometimes be tricky. So we want to take time and find out which one we should use, and which one we should avoid.
The plural for “Experience” is “Experiences”. However, a person’s or group’s collective “Experience” should be referred to in the singular form. Someone can have many different “Experiences” in life, but regarding a particular skill or task, for example, no matter how many times they’ve done it, it’s called “Experience”.
Take a look at the examples below, which will help begin to clarify this idea:
- Georgia has a lot of experience in the field.
- Georgia has had many experiences while traveling for work.
According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary “Experience” can relate to a unique moment in life that led you to learn or live through something interesting or unexpected – in this case, a person will have many “Experiences” throughout life.
But “Experience” can also relate to someone’s knowledge or skill that was gained over time. This “Experience” is a reflex of things that happened to them and shaped who they are and how they behave. In that case, “Experience” is uncountable and should always be used in the singular form.
In the examples above, we see both situations happening. In the first sentence, we state that Georgia has “Experience” in the field, in her area of work. That refers to the knowledge she gained over time and the skills she was able to develop.
The second sentence states that while traveling for work, Georgia has had many “Experiences”. In other words, she’s lived through different situations that were unique and particular, and that helped her learn new things and shaped her.
“Experience” is the set of skills and knowledge someone has acquired over time in a particular field or area. In that context, “Experience” is an uncountable noun, and should always be used in the singular form. This goes for both individuals’ and groups’ collective “Experience”.
Take a look at some good examples below:
- Paul doesn’t have enough experience to qualify for the job.
- Dixie has more than 15 years of experience in education.
- Though I wasn’t paid much, the internship was a great experience.
- Peter’s had tons of firsthand experience with computer programming.
- I knew from experience to not procrastinate.
- Our team has over one hundred years of combined experience.
“Experiences” refer to the unique and particular things that happen to each of us throughout life. In that context, we can use the plural form “Experiences”, because a person can have many different and unrelated “Experiences” throughout their existence.
Let’s go over some helpful examples:
- Tina’s experiences with travel were useful in planning the honeymoon.
- The story is based on the writer’s personal experiences.
- You should learn from your experiences, and avoid the same mistakes.
- Past experiences taught John not to give up so easily.
- We should appreciate all the experiences we have in life.
- Diana’s experiences as a student abroad helped her adapt to new work environments.
Which of those words is used more often, “Experience” or “Experiences”? Let’s take a look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below.
“Experience” is more predominant than “Experiences”. Considering that “Experience” in the singular form can indicate both someone’s collective “Experience” and a particular, unique “Experience” a person might have in life, we weren’t surprised by this information.
We should consider that “Experiences” is a word with a broader usage and that it makes sense that its limited plural form would appear less often. “Experiences” has more limited use, as a word.
It’s also interesting to notice that both words have been following the same trend over the years: when one grows in use, the other one follows.
“Experience” can indicate two general things. On one hand, it can indicate someone’s unique and particular “Experiences” in life. In that case, the plural form “Experiences” is correct and acceptable. But “Experience” can also relate to someone’s knowledge and skills. In that scenario, “Experience” is uncountable and always singular.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.