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Is it correct to use "softwares"?

For example:

There are various video conversion softwares in the market.

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lol, this reminds me of Indian people using the word "maths", as in "I need help doing the maths on this ..." :D –  roman m Oct 21 '10 at 22:11
@roman, What's wrong with the word maths? It's the standard abbreviation of mathematics everywhere except the USA. There's nothing specifically Indian about it. –  TRiG Nov 13 '10 at 17:15
@TRIG: there you have it "except the USA". I'm used to hearing "math" vs "maths", that's why "maths" sounds wrong to me [no offense to Indian people :D] –  roman m Nov 13 '10 at 20:51
I believe this issue arises because people started using software as a short form for software program. –  rest_day May 22 '11 at 5:59
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4 Answers

up vote 36 down vote accepted

For all I know, software is uncountable, so it's perfectly fine to say "there is various software". If you don't like how that sounds (I know many people who don't), you can always go with "there are various software packages", "there are various pieces of software" or something like that. An even simpler alternative would be "programs". Depending on the context of your sample sentence, even "video converters" might work, if it's already clear that you are talking about software.

Edit: I have checked Merriam-Webster, Wiktionary and The Free Dictionary, none of them mention softwares at all.

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Agreed, it is uncountable and "softwares" sounds very wrong. –  Jonik Oct 18 '10 at 13:36
Agreed. Common error I have to correct in non-native writing (particularly from speakers of languages where "software" or a contraction "soft" is used as a countable loan word, including French, Dutch and German). –  Albert Herring Oct 18 '10 at 19:53
my softwarez is borkened. –  Claudiu Nov 13 '10 at 22:45
It's a mass noun. No plural. –  Marcin Apr 18 '11 at 14:17
As a native speaker and in the field of programming software, I honestly cannot remember ever having used 'software' with an 's.' In fact, I am sure I have never used it. Many times I have said something like 'We will need to / create / use / buy this software.' If I wanted to use it in the plural, it immediately becomes an adjective to describe something else 'software solutions, software programs, software <some noun with an s> –  user658182 Oct 22 '12 at 5:03
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Just a note to clear up any confusion: I believe the answer provided by RegDwight is correct; but I also want to point out that because the word "software" is uncountable, there is no such thing as a "plural form."

What I mean is this: don't misinterpret the accepted answer to imply that the following sentence is correct:

The company Microsoft produces many software.

The above is problematic for the same reason that the following sentence is problematic:

My bottle is full of many water.

So again: to answer your question directly, there is no plural form. Software is like water; you can have "a lot" of it, but you can't have "many" (or "dozens", or "hundreds", etc.) of it. You can, however, as the other answers have already indicated, have "many pieces of it" (just like you can have "many bottles of water").

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+1 and thanks for the clarification. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Nov 13 '10 at 23:57
Prefer "much" to "a lot of" in this context. –  Ben Voigt Apr 18 '11 at 20:24
I agree with this answer, that "software" is uncountable. But oddly, Wolfram has an ad campaign for Mathematica going right now with the slogan "One software to rule them all." I think that's a mistake, but it's unusual for a reputable geek company like that to let a grammar error slip out. Maybe the countable usage of "software" is creeping into accepted English. –  LarsH Oct 31 '13 at 19:54
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I avoid that by saying "software products".

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Other options: software solutions, applications, programs. –  Jonik Oct 18 '10 at 13:33
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I would use programs instead:

There are various video conversion programs in the market.

Software, in my opinion, is better used as the general concept (as opposed to hardware, say). All of the programs on my PC are software. My hardware consists of a CPU, memory, fans, screen, etc.

Oh, and also I can't resist to refer to the recently common half-joke codes (as in "plz show me the codes" so frequent in certain programming forums).

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Get your memes straight. It's "Gimme-teh-codez!" –  Ben Voigt Apr 18 '11 at 20:28
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