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Let's say, there's this woman, Mary. Her dream is to have a baby. One day, she goes to the doctor and finds out her ovaries are dying very fast.

Should I write dream with and s or without an s?:

Mary's ovaries will die very soon, together with her dream(s).

Logic tells me that I should use "dream" (singular) since it consists of only one objective/item. However, it could also be "dreams" if you consider the dream as a whole, long-lasting experience(s). But I'm not very sure ...

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The plural dreams is often used to refer to a set of related wishes a person may have for their life. The singular dream is more specific. But either would work there.

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The word 'dream' has several meanings. In the context of your question two of those meanings are particularly appropriate.

  1. A dream is a sequence of thoughts and images that run through a person's mind when they are sleeping, or sometimes when they are daydreaming.

If you frequently dream about the same thing then they may be referred to in the plural, e.g. "In my sleep, I frequently have dreams about having a child."

  1. A dream is a deeply desired outcome that you regularly and consciously think about because you hope and want it to become true.

Someone who consciously desires and dreams about a singular outcome is often said to have 'a dream', i.e., in the singular, e.g. Martin Luther King's famous 'I have a Dream" speech. For example, "It would be my fondest dream to have a child."

Of course, someone who has a strong dream (as per definition 2) may also regularly dream (as per definition 1) about that outcome in their sleep.

So, coming back to your phrase 'together with her dream(s)':

  1. If she has only dreamed about having a child once while she was asleep, then it would be dream in the singular, but it would also be scarcely worth mentioning.

  2. If she has regularly dreamed about having a child while she was asleep, but does not give it a conscious thought, then it would be dreams in the plural, and probably worth mentioning.

  3. If she has a strong, burning, conscious desire to have a child, then it would be dream in the singular, and definitely worth mentioning. The failure to achieve a strong desire, especially if the fulfillment of that desire is connected to one's self-image or self-worth, can be a calamitous event in someone's life, and definitely worthy of a mention.

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  • About your third point, I think that Mary's strong desire would likely have prompted many daydreams about motherhood, meaning that the plural would also work. – J.R. Nov 17 '18 at 18:24
  • @J.R. I agree that is a possibility. A really strong desire to achieve or acquire something will be manifested in daydreams as well as sleeping dreams and will often dominate their thinking while awake. However, it is usual to refer to that burning desire and drive as 'a dream', For example a person who says. 'I have a dream of one day becoming an Olympic champion", does not mean that they dreamed about it once and never thought about it again. The expression 'in their dreams' is more frequently used by someone who thinks that the other person's ambition has no chance of ever being realised. – James Nov 17 '18 at 23:27
  • Just to be clear, I was never questioning that the singular works. No need to reiterate on my account. – J.R. Nov 17 '18 at 23:35

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