Social interaction in the townsquare was important for burghers.

Social interactions in the townsquare were important for burghers.

I'd like to know whether interaction should be used in the singular or plural form. My guess is that both uses are ok and it's a matter of personal style and emphasis (that is, the singular form already implies that there may be a plurality of social contacts, but, using the plural form emphasizes that plurality). But maybe I am wrong and another rule applies. I have found a thread on this but I am not sure that its answer is correct When do we use "Interaction‎s" (plural of Interaction‎)?

  • 1
    Use uncountable/generic noun which is identical to singular form (interaction) to focus on the fact of interaction in a generic way (e.g. its possibility) and plural (interactions) to focus on individual countable interactions, e.g. with different people or different types (e.g. business, social, romantic). Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 8:06
  • So, if I understand you well, when there is a word before such as "social", "interactions" must always be plural?
    – user167304
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 8:27
  • No. A preceding adjective does not automatically require a countable noun; rather: if you wish to focus on the generic aspect you can use the uncountable form of the noun. If you wish to focus on individual interactions, you can use the plural/countable form; if you don't need to make that distinction it becomes a style choice. Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 8:50
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    I agree that the answer to the previous question isn't correct. Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


'Interaction' can be a mass noun, referring to interaction in general.

It could also be a countable noun, referring to the individual interactions that take place.

It is not an unusual noun in this way - lots of nouns are used both ways. A common answer to the question of when or why you should use one or the other is that you can emphasise the individuality of the interactions by using it countably. In some contexts that may not make any difference to the overall meaning. In your specific example I don't think it makes too much difference, but without the wider context we don't know precisely what nuances you may be wishing to carry.

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