Literature or Literatures: What is The Plural of Literature?

Literature is the knowledge acquired from reading or studying books; It can also be the use of letters or writing. However, what is the plural form of “literature”? This article will review the plural form of the word and provide examples of how it is used in a sentence.

Is It Literature or Literatures?

“Literature” or “literatures” are both correct. The word “literature” can occur as a countable or uncountable noun. In most cases, the word “literature” retains its original spelling even in its plural form, but in certain contexts, the plural form can be considered “literatures”.

literature or literatures

Literature is used to refer to a collective group of works and takes a singular form despite being used to refer to multiple writings. It is mostly followed by an adjective or noun that helps specify the particular body of work referred to.

Is “Literature” Singular or Plural?

The word “Literature” is a singular word. Even though it could refer to multiple bodies of works, it is singular by virtue of it being an uncountable noun. It helps to think of “literature” not as single books, writings, or pieces of works but as a whole.

This is similar to words like sheep and furniture, where even if they could be referring to multiple ones in a particular context, they retain their singular form.

Is It Correct To Say “Literatures”?

It is grammatically correct to say “literatures”. For example, you can say: “I find myself reading mostly literatures on colonialism”. While it may not necessarily be the standard plural form of the word “literature”, it can be used when referring to different bodies of work in a category.

To further explain, let’s take for example the word “fish”. Fish retains its singular form even as a plural, but when referring to different species of fish, the plural form becomes “fishes”. 

This is the same case as with the word “Literature”. It is correct to say “literatures” when referring to different examples or categories of a body of work.

Nevertheless, the Google Ngram Viewer graph indicates that “literatures” is rarely used by English speakers.

literature or literatures english usage

Take note of the following examples showing how to use the word “literatures” in a sentence:

  • I have read different literatures on the European Culture.
  • There is a whole section in the library for literatures on the cultures of Japan.
  • My sister is fond of reading literatures based on the post-colonial era.
  • There are so many literatures on the topic of environment and ecology; it is a vast concept.
  • I would like to study more South African literatures.
  • Langston Hughes must have read all the literatures during his time to bag all those awards.

When Should I Use “Literature”?

The word “literature” should be used when referring to a general body of work. It should be used when viewing different writings as a whole and as one. You can use the word in a singular and a plural form.

In simpler terms, the word literature is used when considering various kinds of works under the same context. 

Take note of the following examples showing how to use the word “literature” in a sentence:

  • I take different courses in history and literature.
  • English has a vast vocabulary and literature.
  • Over time, I have developed a deep love for poetry and literature.
  • I love reading fantasy literature.
  • Are there any specific works of literature that you really like?
  • I enjoy reading works of literature that challenge my thinking.

Is It Previous Literature or Previous Literatures?

“Previous literature” and “previous literatures” are both correct. “Previous literature” is used when referring to different bodies and categories of literary work done in the past. This can represent both the singular and plural form of the phrase. “Previous literatures” represent only the plural form.

The following sentences show the correct ways to use “previous literature” and “previous literatures” in a sentence:

  1. From previous literature, it has been discovered that the behaviors of men and women differ greatly.
  2. Previous literatures on Asian and Roman culture show that there are similarities between the two.
  3. Previous literatures suggests that the investment behavior of men and women differs.
  4. In this respect, her results are in line with the previous literature.