When understanding whether “time” or “times” is the plural of “time,” it can be either one. Most often, it will be “times,” but there are certain instances where “time” is an uncountable noun that suggests plurality or more than one “time.”
While this can be confusing, it doesn’t have to be. There’s a simple test you can do to ensure the version you’re using sounds correct in the sentence’s frame of reference.
“Times” as a Plural Form
In most cases, “times” will be the correct plural form. But, you have to be careful that someone won’t construe the statement in mathematical terms. This is became “times” can also serve as a verb when calculating integers together.
- Mathematical: Take seven times three and you come up with 21.
- Plural of Time: We went to the theater several times over the last three weeks.
- Suggestion of Plurality: Think of all the times we went to math class.
“Time” as the Plural
There are some instances where “time” can suggest a plural collection of the singular “time.” Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for this, it’s all about sentence structure, context and utility.
- Correct: To think I wasted all that time trying to find a dress is infuriating.
- Incorrect: To think I wasted all that times trying to find a dress is infuriating.
With this simple example above using “times” doesn’t sound right yet saying “time” suggests plurality.
- Correct: Think of all the times we went to math class.
- Incorrect: Think of all the time we went to math class.
The best way to remember the difference between “time” or “times” will depend on the presence of a pronoun, verb, adjective, preposition or article. For instance, if the pronoun or article is singular, then it will be “time.” Likewise, if there is a preposition or verb, “time” is appropriate.
If there’s a plural article, then it will be “times.” However, adjectives or sole nouns can indicate either “time” or “times” to be appropriate.
- Preposition: Deep wounds will heal with time.
- Verb: It takes time for deep wounds to heal.
- Plural Demonstrative: These times of healing can take a while.
- Singular Article: A time of healing can take a while.
- Pronoun: My time of healing took awhile.
- Adjective: I broke my leg three times.
- Sole Noun: Time heals all wounds, even heartbreak.
Checking Your Work
To check for the right version of “time” or “times,” say the sentence aloud and pay attention to how it sounds. Also, identify plural clues around the word, particularly with articles and pronouns.
It will take a while to get it, but with practice and persistence, it will become second nature. Unfortunately, this is one of those things in English where you have to memorize the cases. While there are guidelines to follow, ensure you don’t suggest “times” in reference to multiplication.