A certain native American teacher said that "we have to use 'English skills' with 'skills' in its plural form"

He said "It is wrong to say 'English skill'".

However, in dictionary, "skill" could be countable or uncountable noun

[uncountable] the ability to do something well The job requires skill and an eye for detail. skill in/at something/doing something What made him remarkable as a photographer was his skill in capturing the moment.

[countable] a particular ability or type of ability We need people with practical skills like carpentry. management skills

So, listening skills or listening skill?

When do we have to use "skills" (plural form)?

  • Use of English requires a set of skills (vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, etc.), not just one skill. For this reason, it is customary to use the plural form. The same is true for listening skills (how to pay attention, when to interrupt, how to ask good questions...)
    – Mick
    Oct 30, 2016 at 10:16
  • @Mick, what about "skill" as countable noun? We can just say "skill" in general
    – Tom
    Oct 30, 2016 at 12:02

1 Answer 1


When speaking generally, you will want to use the plural (most of the time)


oratory skills
study skills
handyman skills
surgical skills

when speaking of a particular skill, use the singular

He has great skill in turning a phrase.
he has a great writing skill

  • Please include information concerning "skill" as an uncountable noun. Jul 6, 2017 at 15:53

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