What's the difference between "sky" and "skies"?

I'm really confused since I watched a news saying "People cheered and clapped as the moon blocked the sun for about 2.5 minutes under clear skies on the icy Norwegian islands of Svalbard"

Why does it use the word "Skies"? rather than "Sky"?

Thank you!

2 Answers 2


It's analogous to "water" versus "waters", "land" versus "lands".

The boat floats in water.
They sailed to warmer waters.
They were happy to reach land.
Once ashore, they set off on horseback to visit many lands.

The plural indicates a particularity or difference. The singular indicates the general, undifferentiated idea.

In Oklahoma the sky seems vast.
The angry skies above the moor foretold a storm.


Use sky when you are referring to a specific location:

See that airplane in the sky?
The rocket blasted off into the sky.

Use skies when referring to the sky in a general sense (not referring to a specific location). In your example:

...under clear skies on the icy Norwegian islands of Svalbard.

depending where you are on the island, you will see a different area of the sky that is clear,

Also a major airliner has a famous slogan:

Fly the friendly skies.

which of course coulds be anywhere, depending on where your plane happens to be.

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