Is Energies Grammatically Correct?

The question at hand is focused on determining if “energies” is grammatically correct when used as a plural noun. Specifically, we will examine if it following proper rules of English grammar to use “energies” as the plural form of the noun “energy.”

Rules for Forming Plural Nouns

In English, most plural nouns are formed regularly by adding an -s or -es to the end of the singular noun. For example:

  • Singular noun: cat Plural noun: cats
  • Singular noun: dog Plural noun: dogs
  • Singular noun: box Plural noun: boxes
  • Singular noun: kiss Plural noun: kisses

This simple rule works for the vast majority of English nouns. The plural -s or -es is usually pronounced as /s/ or /z/ when added to the end of a noun.

Irregular Plural Nouns

Some nouns have irregular plural forms that do not follow the standard rules for making plurals. These irregular plurals are remnants of Old English grammar rules. Some common examples include:

  • Mouse – Mice
  • Child – Children
  • Man – Men
  • Woman – Women
  • Person – People
  • Foot – Feet
  • Tooth – Teeth

These nouns require memorization of their irregular forms. Speakers need to be aware that they are exceptions to the standard pluralization rules. Some irregular plural forms may take getting used to for new English learners.

Nouns Ending in ‘y’

For most nouns ending in ‘y’, you form the plural by changing the ‘y’ to ‘i’ and adding ‘es’. Examples include:

  • baby – babies
  • story – stories
  • fly – flies

This rule applies to nouns ending in a vowel + ‘y’ like the words above. However, for nouns ending in a consonant + ‘y’, you just add ‘s’ to form the plural. Examples include:

  • army – armies
  • company – companies

So in summary, for most nouns ending in ‘y’, change the ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es’ to make the plural form. Just add ‘s’ if the noun ends in a consonant + ‘y’.

Nouns Ending in ‘energy’

There are no strict rules that apply to forming the plural of nouns ending in ‘energy’. The most common way to make nouns ending in ‘energy’ plural is to simply add an ‘s’ on the end.

For example:

  • energy -> energies
  • synergy -> synergies
  • strategy -> strategies

This is the standard way of making most English nouns plural by adding ‘s’. Nouns ending in ‘y’ often replace the ‘y’ with ‘ies’ to make the plural form, but nouns ending in ‘energy’ don’t follow this pattern.

Some examples of proper plural noun forms for words ending in ‘energy’:

  • The team had a lot of energy.
  • The business leader motivated employees by talking about synergies.
  • The company implemented new strategies.

So in summary, the plural of nouns ending in ‘energy’ is formed by simply adding an ‘s’. There are no special rules that apply for making these nouns plural.

Other Examples

There are a few other common nouns similar to “energy” that take irregular plural forms in English. Here are some examples:

  • Criterion/criteria
  • Phenomenon/phenomena
  • Analysis/analyses
  • Hypothesis/hypotheses
  • Basis/bases

Like “energy,” these nouns derived from Latin or Greek roots have retained their original plural forms when adopted into English. So the plurals do not follow the normal “-s” pluralization rules in English.


diagram showing the pluralization rules for the word energy

In summary, “energies” is not the correct plural form of the noun “energy.” The rules of English grammar dictate that the plural of “energy” is formed by simply adding an “s” to create “energies.” This falls under the standard pluralization rules for nouns ending in “y.”

While there are some irregular plural nouns in English, like “men” and “women,” the word “energy” does not fall into that category. Its plural form is regular. Using “energies” as the plural would be considered grammatically incorrect in standard English.

Some style guides do advocate for using “energies” as a plural form to differentiate types of energy. However, this usage would be considered unconventional and informal. The most broadly accepted plural form remains “energies,” following the standard grammar principles of pluralization.

Expert Opinions

The use of the term “energies” as the plural of “energy” is a source of debate among grammar experts.

According to Patricia T. O’Conner, former editor of The New York Times Book Review and author of “Woe Is I,” using “energies” as a plural noun is considered, by traditional grammar standards, to be incorrect.

“Nouns ending in -y generally do not change to -ies in the plural; the -y usually changes to -i before adding -es,” O’Connor says. “So by that rule, the plural of energy is energies. But in modern usage, energy is more commonly pluralized as energies.”

She recommends using “energies” only when referring to different types of energy. “I’d stick with energy as the plural form when talking about amounts or levels of energy,” O’Connor advises.

Similarly, Mignon Fogarty, host of the Grammar Girl podcast, responds “I can see the argument for adding -ies to form the plural of energy instead of just adding -s, but common usage has definitely moved to just adding -s.”

Fogarty agrees that “energies” may be used when distinguishing between forms of energy, while “energy” is preferable for noncount usages.


If “energies” is not the correct plural form of “energy”, there are some alternate options to consider:

  • “Energy types” – This avoids using the plural form entirely by using the noun “types” instead.
  • “Forms of energy” – Similar to “energy types”, this uses “forms” as a descriptive noun.
  • “Kinds of energy” – Again, using a descriptive noun like “kinds” avoids the plural “energies”.
  • “Categories of energy” – “Categories” works in the same way as the other alternatives.

The bottom line is that if “energies” sounds awkward or ungrammatical, there are easy ways to pluralize “energy” by using a descriptive noun rather than just adding an ‘s’. Words like “types”, “forms”, “kinds”, and “categories” all work well for this purpose.


In summary, the grammatical correctness of using “energies” as the plural form of “energy” depends on the context.

The main points are:

  • Most standard English grammar rules indicate that the plural of “energy” should be “energies.” This is because most nouns simply add an “s” to make the plural form.
  • However, in physics and other scientific contexts, “energy” is treated as a mass noun that is uncountable. In those cases, “energy” does not take a plural form.
  • “Energies” may occasionally be used in new age or spiritual writing, but this is non-standard and viewed by many as incorrect.

In conclusion, while “energies” can sometimes be used as the plural of “energy,” it is only considered grammatically correct in certain contexts. The standard plural in formal English remains “energies.” But when referring to energy as a broad concept or measurement, “energy” is the proper singular and mass noun form.

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