According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, the word "directions" is used in plural when it means instructions about what to do.

I'm wondering whether we can use the word in the singular. If the instruction is just one sentence, can we refer to it as a direction?

  • 1
    'Mark the metal, select the drill, and following the safety procedure, drill the hole, making sure to tidy the workplace when finished'. One sentence containing directions. Also, 'Pierce the top of the can in two places, then stand in a pan of boiling water for 15 minutes, taking care not to allow the pan to boil dry". Oct 14, 2022 at 14:06
  • I would say no. If you mean "instructions", the word directions is always plural.
    – stangdon
    Oct 14, 2022 at 14:10
  • @stangdon - the first Italian word I ever learned, at the age of 6, was istruzioni, from a pasta packet. Oct 14, 2022 at 14:20
  • I would always use the plural: "These directions are very easy. Just one sentence!"
    – topsail
    Oct 14, 2022 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


No, "directions", in the sense of "instructions", is plural but uncountable, so it cannot be singular.

A set of instructions with just one instruction is still called "the directions". That single instruction cannot be called "a direction".

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