Why is the phrase "personal reasons" is preferred to "personal reason"?

Example: I'm on leave due to personal reasons.

I hardly have seen anyone saying "I'm on leave due to a personal reason."

Are there any differences? Isn't it grammatically correct to use the phrase in singular?

  • 1
    People use both; the plural is more common (it really means 'one or more reasons'); if you say it's one reason people may ask what it is, whereas 'reasons' preserves opaqueness and confidentiality. Oct 1 '20 at 7:18

"Personal reasons" is intentionally vague, and would be understood that way. It would not usually prompt a question as to what the reasons are, though hearers might speculate. It might be used even if there is only one specific reason.

Saying "a personal reason" is less vague, implying something very specific. It would almost seem to invite the question "What is that reason?"


Saying "personal reasons" practically means "please don't ask me for any further details." I don't hear "personal reason" very often.

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