Is the term software plural

Is the term “software” plural?

There are two ways you answer this question, but the answer is not plural for either one.
The fist way has to do with the number of software as a noun.
  Most people think that nouns are singular or plural, but that is a secondary classification, which does not apply to all nouns.
  Nouns are, at the highest level, count or noncount (also called uncountable or mass).
Noncount nouns do not have a plural form.
  They are modified by determiners and quantifiers like little and much.
  Examples are despair and swimming (as a gerund).
  Count nouns typically have singular and plural forms, though some nouns, like police and cattle, only have plural forms.
  Singular count nouns use determiners and quantifiers like this and one.
  Plural count nouns use determiners and quantifiers like those and two and many.
The second way to look at number on a noun is the number that is used on a main verb when the noun is the subject of a sentence.
  There are only two cases here–singular and plural.
  For verb agreement, noncount nouns and singular count nouns both occur with singular verb forms.
  And plural count nouns occur with plural verb forms.
  Consider the verb agreement in these sentences:
   Happiness (noncount) is (singular) a warm puppy.
   One good deed (singular count) deserves (singular) another.
   April showers (plural count) bring (plural) May flowers.
So what is software?  It is, first, a noncount noun.
  We do not say one software, two softwares.
  If we want to count it, we have to force it into a construction with a count noun: one piece of software, two software applications.
  In construction, it is always singular.
  We can see both of these indicators of the number of software at play in this sentence:
   Too much (noncount) software (noncount) is (singular) released with too many bugs.
So software is noncount in number and singular in construction, never plural.

I've worked in the software industry for many years writing PPTs, training, documentation, and all sorts of things.
I've never written the word "softwares.
" I did write a number of articles with phrases like, "you can buy a wide variety of software.
" or "many software solutions," but I avoided any sentence stucture leading to a phrase like, "he has many softwares"; my word substitution was "programs.
So I don't know the answer to your question.
However, our translation teams in Asia use the word "softwares" often enough to make my stomach queasy.

Sorry for the non-answer, but I would urge you avoid a sentence structure that calls for the use of the word "softwares.
" IMO, software is both singular and plural, however, the opinion is not authoratative.

Updated: 12.07.2019 — 5:00 pm

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