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I've heard of the term "maths" used by my UK friends, I am from the US and I use the word "math".

Is "maths" grammatically correct?

For me, it rolls off the tongue oddly;

  • My maths teachers gave us a test.
  • I've to study maths today.
  • Maths is one of my least favorite subjects.
  • Maths is part of everyday life.
  • Did you finish your maths homework today?

Is it just me? Because of how I was taught to use "math" instead of "maths"?

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  • I think it is just what you're used to. Would you find "My physics teachers gave us a test", "I've to study physics today", "Physics is one of my least favorite subjects" etc. etc. equally odd? It's just what you're used to. I spent three years in linguistics learning to appreciate the beauty of different dialects and forms of language - and learning not to insist that my way is correct - and, in my head, I still go "maths" every time I hear people say "math" :P
    – Au101
    May 19, 2015 at 21:37
  • I've always thought that if you go with "maths" it should be conjugated in the plural, i.e. "maths are hard". They do it in French... Nov 11, 2015 at 10:56

2 Answers 2

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There's no "correct" in this situation without the nation of use. It is "correct" in the UK to say maths and "correct" in the US to say math. It's a regional word, much like the use of:

  • biscuit vs cookie
  • bonnet vs hood
  • boot vs trunk

Plus, if you think about the full word, maths sort of makes more sense... the word is "mathematics", after all.

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American English varies (especially in it's uses of z vs s), and this is one of the ways it does so. Whilst over here in the UK it's (officially1) "maths" with an "s", American English has it without the "s".

If you're interested, here's the Ngram data on the two:

Ngram data

It looks like the American version is used more, but then again:

Ngram data

The American version of this word is used far more than the UK version with an "s".

So, in a nutshell, both are correct, it just depends what version of English you're using.


1: I'm not sure if it's said this way in practice: I've heard both said.

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