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Maybe the same as This is a good news. This is good news, or News for plural, but I found "I have two good news for you." in https://math.stackexchange.com/a/4780391/1230831, making me wonder: If "news" is (syntactically) plural-only (i.e.: there is no "new"), does it make any sense to count it?

Or more simple: Are there any such plural-only words that are used with a count?

I'm no native English speaker, but there seems to be exceptions for "pair", like in "a pair of trousers" (there is no "trowser"), "a pair of scissors" (plus probably some more I can't remember right now). Do exceptions for non-pairs exist, too?

I'm native German, and there it's different: We have "neu" (new), "etwas Neues" (something new, typically not countable), "Neuheit" (something new, countable), and "Neuigkeit" (news, countable). The difference between the last two is that the former is used for new (physical) things, while the latter is used for information (which has a singular and plural form in German).

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    I can't make sense of your question because your examples don't match what you're saying. "News" is uncountable, and never plural: "The news is good". Nearly all plural words are used with a count: "two books". What's uncommon is plural words that cannot be counted, like "glasses" (meaning eyewear). "Pair" is a singular countable word. Please edit your question to clarify what you mean, and provide examples that match so we know which one you're really asking about.
    – gotube
    Oct 6, 2023 at 7:01
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    You found one example where the term "news" was used in the countable sense and now you're thinking all the hundreds and thousands of instances where news is used in the singular Here is the news or used with a quantifier Here are three pieces of news must be wrong?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 6, 2023 at 7:12
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    The poster doesn't give their nationality, but it's possible their native language is one in which news can be countable. Oct 6, 2023 at 7:47
  • @KateBunting - I think Stef may be French, and they can certainly say deux bonnes nouvelles. Oct 6, 2023 at 8:50
  • @MichaelHarvey - Yes, it was French I was thinking of. Oct 6, 2023 at 8:52

2 Answers 2

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'News' is a mass noun (not countable), so it is not a plural, nor do we ever pluralise it (there is no such thing as 'newses'). Although the etymology of this particular word is from the plural 'new things', in modern English it is not plural. A common assumption among English learners seems to be that nouns ending in the letter 'S' must be plural - that is definitely not the case.

It is true that some mass nouns are occasionally pluralised when it is possible to quantify them. For example, 'water' can refer to all water everywhere - water in general; however, you could order 3 glasses of water by saying "three waters, please". But, this never happens with 'news' because it is not quantifiable - if someone said "I have some news for you" that could mean just one piece of information. Likewise, television news bulletins, which often contain many different stories, are usually introduced with "here is the news".

There are many ways you can refer to news - you could say you had a 'piece of news', 'some news', or just 'news'. Because it is non-countable, you could say "some news" or "news" for more than once piece of news, but if you really wanted to differentiate them from the start you would have to say something like "I have [x] pieces (or items) of news".

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  • So " two good news" is correct?
    – U. Windl
    Oct 6, 2023 at 12:14
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    I think you mean "A common assumption among English learners seems to be that nouns ending in the letter 'S' must be plural"?
    – Stuart F
    Oct 6, 2023 at 13:57
  • @U.Windl No ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏‏
    – BigMistake
    Oct 7, 2023 at 2:17
  • @U.Windl NO - in the same way that "two water" would not be correct. 'News' is NOT a plural, you can't have two of them. But, just like you can have two glasses of water you can have two pieces of news.
    – Astralbee
    Oct 7, 2023 at 9:49
  • But the example of "water" is complicated by the sense of "water" that means "serving of water" -- a bottle or a glass of water, for example. You can't have "two water," but you can have "two waters."
    – phoog
    Oct 7, 2023 at 9:55
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making me wonder: If "news" is (syntactically) plural-only (i.e.: there is no "new"), does it make any sense to count it?

News is not countable. It is wrong to use a number or the indefinite article with it. To count it, you need a different noun:

  • I have two pieces of good news for you,
  • I read three news articles today.

Furthermore, news isn't "plural only"; it's "plural never." Having received two or more pieces of good news, you can only say "the news is good," never "the news are good."

News is unlike trousers and scissors in this regard. Trousers and scissors always take a plural verb; news always takes a singular verb. In phrases such as a pair of trousers (or of scissors), the singular countable noun to which the definite article a pertains is pair,

(In some parts of the US, at least, you can hear "a scissors," but I believe that is still considered nonstandard.)

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