4

There is one word that confuses me a lot - series. What is hard for me to understand is that this word has only plural form while pretty related word movie has a singular form as well. So I would like to know whether the following sentences are correct:

  1. What are your favorite series?
  2. My favorite series are True Detective.
  3. Have you seen the new series Taboo?

Is there a word with a singular form, like a movie but for TV series? And the last question - should I add TV before series or is it implied?

  • 3
    Just because a word ends in s does not necessarily mean it is plural. Series is a borrowing from the Latin word series, meaning a sequence or succession— -ies in Latin is a suffix that creates a noun from an adjective, comparable to -ness or -ity in English; species is the other common word that follows this pattern. Interestingly, however, the cognate French word is série. – choster Mar 5 '17 at 3:11
  • 3
    "should I add TV between series or is it implied?" - In question 3 it is implied by "seen", but in question 1 you should add TV otherwise somebody might respond with their favourite series of books. Also, if you say "What are your favourite series?" the "are" makes "series" plural, so somebody might answer "Doctor Who, True Detective, and Psych". If you say "What is your favourite series?" the "is" makes "series" singular, so then somebody would reply with only one thing. – nnnnnn Mar 5 '17 at 4:51
  • @choster your comment about the Latin origin was really helpful, thanks – Kirill Smirnov Mar 5 '17 at 10:39
  • @nnnnnn so it is better to say My favorite series IS True Detective, right? – Kirill Smirnov Mar 5 '17 at 10:44
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Series is both singular and plural. It depends on the sense, it takes a singular verb when it has a sense of "one set", even though it's followed by a plural of-phrase

A series of lectures is scheduled

In the 1st and 2nd examples, it refers to one or more sets of series. But for the third sentence, it can be interpreted as a singular or plural noun, depending on the context.

The TV is optional because it can be understood from the context.


Reference

American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style

2

An individual show that is part of a series is an episode: one of the parts of a television or radio program that is given as a series over a period of time.

There is also a special term for the first episode, especially if it is a trial to test audience reaction. That is a pilot: A television or radio programme made to test audience reaction with a view to the production of a series.

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