If -s/es can be added to a noun (to form a plural noun), then we understand that it's a countable noun.

Is the noun availabilities the plural form of the noun availability?

If it's not so, then how come the noun availability is an uncountable noun?

  • 3
    Why do you think that "available" has a plural form?
    – BillJ
    Sep 7, 2016 at 9:25

4 Answers 4


According to the Cambridge Dictionary, availability is uncountable. That's not the end of the story, though: according to this NGram, usage of availabilities is not unusual, although mainly in technical writing. Here is an example:

Past feeding ecology studies of shorebirds primarily focused on food selection patterns and availabilities from single stopover sites. Ecology and management of migrant shorebirds in the playas

The sentence talks about assessment of food availability at several sites. He chooses to refer to the assessment for each site as an availability, and there is one for each site so there are several availabilities. This writer (and many others) think that availability is countable.

The countable/uncountable entry in a dictionary can be a useful guide, but if it says uncountable and you really need a plural, go ahead and make a plural.

  • Ask yourself this: can you say one/two/three etc availabilities? If not, then it is not a count noun. In your example (which doesn't make sense to me) singular "availability" is fine.
    – BillJ
    Sep 7, 2016 at 11:48
  • Of course it would make sense with non-count "availability". But importantly, the OP asked "... then how come the noun availability is an uncountable noun"? So, what is your answer to that? Is it count or non-count?
    – BillJ
    Sep 7, 2016 at 13:30

In general communication, availability is usually uncountable. If I want to know, when someone is available next week, I will ask about their availability - not their availabilities. That's true even if I receive multiple options (availabilities) as the answer (e.g. Monday and Wednesday).

However, it is sometimes crucial to make a clear distinction between all possible options (availabilities) and a single option (availability). JavaLatte already pointed out scientific writing as one such area. Another example can be software system specifications. In such contexts, some authors choose to use uncountable words in plural to draw reader's attention to the difference between one element and the whole collection.

See also a similar question for states/statuses.


I could put both words into sentences, each showing that they are or are not countable:

  1. "What's your availability in the next week?"
  2. "I have many availabilities! Monday at 10:00 and 3:00, Tuesday at noon..."

The first is a generic word covering a time period. It's uncountable, since it's general.

The second is specific: they can enumerate each and every one of the "availabilities", thus count them.

  • Ask yourself this: can you say one/two/three etc availabilities? If not, then it is not a count noun.
    – BillJ
    Sep 7, 2016 at 11:44
  • @BillJ Agreed! And I gave three explicit "availabilities" in my answer example, and implied there were more. Sep 7, 2016 at 17:52
  • "Availability" is not a count noun in any context. Your example 2., which has a non-standard use of plural "availabilities", does not demonstrate that "availability" is a count-noun. You cannot correctly say something like "I have three availabilities next week", and for that reason it can only be a non-count noun.
    – BillJ
    Sep 8, 2016 at 6:46

I believe that the countable v/s non-countable debate poses a great example of a word that necessitates the usage of modifiers and or parallel structure within the complete sentence and or communicated message in order for it to be properly used. Thus, both the plural as well as the non-countable definition are proper and their formative usage are categorically different when considering the complete sentence structure.

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