Suppose I talk to five people and they are confused about something. Which expression should I say?

  1. I understand your confusion.
  2. I understand your confusions.

I've searched in the dictionary (OALD) that this noun is both countable and uncountable. This is one of the problems I have when learning English. It's really challenging to me how to know where I should use countable or uncountable form when the noun itself can be both.

This article Uncountable Nouns Can Also Be Countable explains that we can say plastics (we know plastic is uncountable) which means it's possible to pluralize the uncountable noun by adding s or es, even though my friend has confirmed that there's a strict rule for example advice that can't be pluralized.

I mention all of this because I want you to know what I've known and what I haven't understood. What is the best choice between (1) and (2), by the way?

  • Confusion is rarely pluralized. If you're talking to a group of people, you'd pluralize the audience noun first. Example: "I understand why you (plural) are confused." If you need to emphasize it's a large group of people, you could say, "I understand why all of you are confused." Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 14:55
  • Perhaps, in the southern U.S., "You all are confused?" Commented Dec 21, 2021 at 19:31
  • I have never seen the word confusion pluralized in my entire life. I am not young. So pleaase, don't pluralize it. confusion, embarrassment, etc. no s.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 20:30

3 Answers 3


You are correct that it is sometimes unclear when a noun can be considered countable or uncountable. A good dictionary will help, and reading and listening to a lot of English from good sources will help. However, even native English speakers can disagree about this issue.

As FR said in a comment, "confusion" is usually uncountable. I don't recall ever hearing "confusions". However, the American Heritage Dictionary apparently cites this example:

After his awakening to Chicano identity, he briefly mastered his inner confusions and found an articulate voice.

Also, see this SE question: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/297371/can-confusion-be-plural

"Confusions", therefore, seems to be possible.

(By the way, I would consider "plastic" to be a count-noun when it refers to a specific kind. For example, a manufacturer might say, "This is a good plastic to use for water bottles, but those other plastics are unsuitable.")


Based on this source, I've gathered that technically either way works.

If you are talking about several confusions, then you can say "I understand your confusions," however, as a native speaker, I would say it is more common to generalize and say "I understand your confusion".

While someone may be confused about several different things, you aren't talking about each of those things, but the general confusion of that person.


Lets suppose you are in class and you go to your tutor at the end of the day and you say that you are confused about a certain problem in class on that day. And all these problems were different. Then over the week you have had several confusions and the tutor would be right to say at the end of the week:

I can understand your confusions

Unless of course, she was confused about your confusions because you never explained things correctly. Then she would be right to say:

I'm confused about your confusions.

So you can see from this example it makes sense to say 'confusion' or 'confusions' depending upon context.

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