Know Thy English: “Stuffs” is not the plural of “Stuff”

I’ve been meaning to start a series of posts focused on the intricacies of the English language for a while now. Yea, with so much going on already, you’d think the last thing I needed was a yet another section in my blog. But since I’ve decided to go all-out and since sometimes the itch to write can be too insurmountable, I’m going to go ahead anyway, for what it’s worth.

So for the first post, I’ve taken up something that is probably a very Indian mishap.

Take this for instance:

“Hey, what did you do yesterday!”

“Well, let me see! First I went to a movie, then we went bowling and then I shopped for shoes! I did all those stuffs!”

NO.

“Hey baby! Look at all the cool stuffs I bought for you!!”

NO AGAIN.

But WHY?

To understand why it is this way, you have to know of a concept called Uncountable Nouns. In the English language, a lot of things are classified as uncountable. These are the objects that do not have a plural form (are implicitly plural)  and also cannot be divided.

E.g. Milk, water, rice, sugar, hair etc.

These are the objects that we cannot count directly but always with an other form of measurement. For example, we can say a bag of rice or a liter of milk and so on but never rices or milks!

In contrast, take biscuit for example of which you can perfectly say – I have two biscuits!

But wait, STUFFS is a valid word too!

Only in its verb form but.

Par example:

“He stuffs the jute bag with the dead body.”

There! A perfectly correct sentence, see!

So that’s it! I do think most people know this but this stemmed off from a conversation I had with someone who simply loves to use the word “Stuffs” wrongly. I know for a fact that a lot of Indians make this mistake so if I’ve educated at least one I’ll consider this endeavor a success.

P.S. And please don’t be one of the people who says “peoples”.

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17 thoughts on “Know Thy English: “Stuffs” is not the plural of “Stuff”

  1. Haha, He stuffs the jute bag with a dead body. Are you sure that that’s a correct sentence? If so, then I’m worried for your wellbeing. Don’t worry man, I know that it’s obviously a joke but still… hehe.

    – Ainsworth 🙂

    Like

  2. I wish you the best of luck. English can be confusing even for those of us who have its as our mother tongue. Water is another example of confusion. You can have ‘waters’ as in,’By the waters of Babalyon’ as used in the old once popular song.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. you made me smile at a few points with you examples, Uday. Great! Thanks!
    I guess, that’s not a problem only for people from India, but for many people speaking English as a second language and have learnt is as an adult.

    Liked by 1 person

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