Which sentence sounds correct to you:

They have opposing point of views.

They have opposing points of view.

They have opposing points of views.


The second sentence fits the bill:

They have opposing points of view.

The first sentence is illogical: they have the same point, moreover, since the word point is singular it asks for an article before it.

The third sentence is not idiomatic in the way it pluralizes views.

  • But one more question! Can one use "views" instead of "points of view"in this context? Can they be swapped here? Do they mean the same here? – A-friend Jan 6 '15 at 19:55
  • @A-friend - I'm not sure but my guess is that views is a broader concept. You can have a communist and an anticommunist parliament members of Parliament: they will have opposing views. But they could have similar points of view on a specific issue, say, on whether it is good to introduce Daylight Saving Time. – CowperKettle Jan 7 '15 at 4:56

Only points of view is correct.

Point of views and points of views don’t make sense because of view only indicates which kind of point you’re talking about: a point from which the person takes their view. The word view does not function like houses in doors of houses, because the points are not possessed by views. Grammatically, of view works like of Paris in plaster of Paris. Plaster of Paris is a kind of plaster.

The literal meaning

It might help to understand the literal meaning of “point of view”. Suppose that two ships are in the water at different places around an island. If you are standing on one of the ships, you can see a town on the island, but a person standing on the other ship cannot see the town. Standing on the other ship, you can see a beach, which can’t be seen from the first ship. The location of each ship is a geometrical point. And if you consider that point regarding what a person can or can’t see from that point, you are thinking of that point as a point of view. From one point of view, the town is visible; from the other point of view, the town cannot be seen.

The metaphorical meaning

People say point of view metaphorically to refer to a person’s preconceptions, previous experience, social position, and access to information, which influence the conclusions they draw when reasoning or making a judgement. When you describe a disagreement as “opposing points of view”, this suggests that the disagreement arises from differences in what each person can see, like the two ships. So, if each person could see the topic from the other person’s point of view, each person might learn from the other and they might agree, just as a person could see both the town and the beach by traveling to both points in the water near the island. Also, the disagreement might be irreconcilable if neither person will consider the matter from the other’s point of view.

  • I wonder if it's logical then to say "we have the same point of view on this issue"; two ships cannot be in the same point. – CowperKettle Jan 7 '15 at 5:15
  • 1
    @CopperKettle I don't think there's any clash there. The “point” idea is an analogy with geometry, where points can coincide. I only invented the situation with the ships to explain it; ships aren’t even in the back of people’s minds when they hear “point of view”. – Ben Kovitz Jan 7 '15 at 6:54

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