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Why do you worry when software are available for that?

I know that 'software' is a mass noun and thus the plural is 'software'. To avoid this situation (as in given sentence), I always play smart -

Why do you worry when software tools are available for that?

This I do just to satisfy myself seeing software with are since I know I cannot use softwares. But then using tools mean something else. It's, after all, a tool!

Is there any way to describe plural of software

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    Well, you can say e.g. "pieces of software", but what's wrong with "there's software for that"? What situation do you need it for that the mass noun doesn't work in? – snailboat Feb 19 '14 at 6:44
  • @snailplane I want to emphasize that there are many software and so we have many options. – Maulik V Feb 19 '14 at 6:44
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    Then you say there is a lot of software available. "Many software" looks exactly like "many water", "many money" - that is, it throws off the reader / listener because it doesn't "compute". :) – oerkelens Feb 19 '14 at 6:46
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    In formal documentation, I usually see software systems, software packages, or software products. – Damkerng T. Feb 19 '14 at 11:25
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    @J.R. OK I concede that if you needed to distinguish between meanings of the word 'programs' then that would be reasonable. (Pedantically here in the UK it would be distinguishable by 'program' for software and 'programme' for the others, but even here I think it's clearer to say 'software programs' and 'training programmes' when that distinction needs to be made. – peterG Jun 2 '14 at 19:55
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As pointed out in your question software is a mass noun also known as uncountable. Some uncountable nouns can be used in plural, and Google n-grams reports a number of instances for softwares:

"These softwares permit simple mapping of the existing data and offer good compatibility with other softwares." (Don De Savigny, ‎Pandu Wijeyaratne - 1995)

"In addition, these softwares, although said to be "symbolic" fail to provide explicit motion equations of the considered system." (Thomas Lee - 1993)

"Many microcomputers are equipped with softwares built on ROM." (The Malaysian Agricultural Digest - Volumes 2-3 - Page 48)

"All ten softwares have been written in Turbo Pascal for the IBM and IBM compatible computers." (Mark Keegan - 1995)

"the communication between the two softwares uses a common memory zone." (Philippe Geril - 1986)

"Dozens of well-developed softwares for computer-assisted molecular design based on 3D—CG are commercially available and are now widely used (8)." (H. Timmerman, ‎T. Fujita - 1995)

"The Decision Making Software is a set of softwares to make control decisions of the agent." (M Ahmad, ‎William G. Sullivan - 1993)

"There are many commercial data mining softwares available in the market that can be applied to financial applications." (George T. Albanis - 2003)

The question arises whether this use of softwares is the result of the influence from non-native speakers of English or simply the natural evolution of its use. This is a question especially difficult to answer for technical terms such as software.

  • Yes, I am Indian and I come across the word softwares manywhere including journals, manuals and the like. As you pointed out, it seems the result of the influence from NNS. – Maulik V Feb 19 '14 at 10:54
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    "Manywhere" is a most useful word, which I have never seen before. It fills a need, replacing the phrase "in many places" with a single concise and unambiguous word. I like it! Looking further, I see some interesting discussions on the word in this site, as well as a few other places. It seems rather popular in Indian English, and certainly is worthy of consideration to be included in the standard lexicon IMO. If the official English vocabulary were determined by committee, I would vote to add it. :) – BobRodes Feb 19 '14 at 14:38
  • @BobRodes Hey, thanks buddy. As I always say, I've been using this for years without looking into dictionaries and other lexicons. And trust me, this time too I used it naturally (not intentionally...). Your comment drew my attention! – Maulik V Feb 20 '14 at 11:51
  • It isn't an "official" word, but it should be IMO. I like it! In 200 years it will probably be common. If we manage to survive ourselves for that long, that is. – BobRodes Feb 20 '14 at 22:51

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