Noise or Noises – Which Is Correct Grammar?

WRITTEN July 16, 2015 Author: Rich Atkins

Recently, at a barbeque, two friends were having a disagreement about who had the correct grammar. They came to me to settle the argument (knowing what I do, and because I’m a grammar geek). Here’s what happened:

Noise or NoisesThe first one had been holding her phone in her hand, waiting to receive a message. To her friend, she said, “It hasn’t made any noises, so I’ll have to wait.”

The second one said, “‘Noises’? You mean ‘noise.’ It hasn’t made any noise.”

They disagreed on which is correct. Is it “noise,” or “noises”?

Looking at the information below, what would you say?
Which is correct?

Count Nouns

Have a singular and plural form

  • one man; two men;
  • one city; three cities;
  • one bell; four bells

Non-Count Nouns

Represent things that are not countable; singular form only

  • water;
  • steel;
  • smoke

 

I had to tell them that they’re both correct!

The word “noise” is both a count and noncount noun.

As a count noun, you can put a number before it, and make it plural by adding an -s at the end: “We heard three noises.”

As a noncount noun, it appears in the singular, and represents something that can’t be counted: “There was noise coming from the front tire.”

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