2

Which of these are more proper and why?

Ways to prevent a cold

or

Ways to prevent colds

I learned in high school that "cold" is singular and plural and at the time.

  • Both of these are acceptable. I'm not sure what you meant by your last sentence; in this case, the plural of cold is colds. – nmar Mar 17 '17 at 5:41
  • I'd suggest the definite article the, here as well as on your user page ("I am the owner of" or "a shareholder" or "one of the owners"), but not the indefinite article. You have to speak with conviction. – Hector von Mar 17 '17 at 11:10
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Cold as in the disease is a normal singular noun and requires s at the end if you are talking about more than one.

Ways to prevent a cold or Ways to prevent colds

Cold also means "low temperature." Nouns that refer to abstract attributes do not take articles. If you see cold without an article, this meaning is likely intended.

Ways to prevent cold

However, nouns that refer to types instead of concrete instances also do not take articles. So it is possible to omit the article for cold if the word is being used to refer to a type of disease.

Various diseases such as cold, flu, food poisoning are contagious.

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The Common Cold is a proper noun, as such it needs the definite article, nevertheless if "Common" is omitted. A quick search doesn't agree though.

The cold is at least a class of symptoms, so that still needs the def. article. The plural colds seems possible, but the colds sounds odd, there is just one class of these.

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