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Which one is considered correct? I say "math", however I believe I heard somewhere that "maths" is correct. Also, should it (and "mathematics") be capitalized or not?

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I like to use math & think that it is better to use the same – user90059 Sep 2 '14 at 10:53
up vote 39 down vote accepted

This is simple:

  • Math is American English.
  • Maths is British English.

It is a common noun and should only be capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.

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Conversely, Americans say "sports" while British people say "sport". The different forms are arbitrary. – Kosmonaut Aug 16 '10 at 0:59
Unless it's a name of a subject/course, in which case it should be capitalised. – Noldorin Aug 16 '10 at 8:11
@Kosmonaut Actually the difference there is more subtle than that. "Sport" in BrE can be used as an abstract noun relating to the concept, as well as as a count noun. In AmE, it can only be a count noun, so if you want to refer to "all sports" (that plural is correct in both dialects), then you have to talk about "sports" in AmE, but you can say "sport" in BrE. But if you want to say "I was the captain of the school team in two sports", then that's a count noun plural in both dialects. Many Americans get it wrong and think that sport can't take a plural in BrE. – Richard Gadsden Sep 1 '11 at 13:14
You can say sports in BrE. How did you enjoy the school sports day? – Dominic Cronin Sep 17 '12 at 19:44
@WS2 Merriam-Webster calls "mathematics" a "noun plural but usually singular in construction". You remove "ematics" from "mathematics" and you are left with "math". And FWIW, the shortened form for "economics" is "econ". – nohat Aug 31 '14 at 16:30

This is meant to be added to nohat's response but I can't seem to add comments (yet).

The words "math" and "maths" are both abbreviations of "mathematics" and are dictated by your local variation of English.

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Well if one is talking about logic then "maths" is the correct word, because we say "mathematics is my best subject" not that "mathematics are my best subject" thus the shortened word is still plural. On the other hand if someone says why remove"ematic" and leave the "s" well my dears it's a common plural noun that's why there's still the"s" left in it.

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You can't say that one abbreviation is correct (and the other is wrong) just because it seems more logical to you. Besides, don't Brits use the abbreviation "econ" for "economics" (as in "econ class") alongside "maths" for "mathematics"? – sumelic Jun 13 at 0:06
@sumelic I've never heard "economics" abbreviated to "econ": indeed, I wouldn't have understood what "econ" means. But it's a loooong time since I was a student! – TrevorD Jun 13 at 0:33
@TrevorD - You would have flunked Econ 101. – Hot Licks Jun 13 at 0:58
if one is talking about logic -- well that's where you've gone wrong. This is language. Also, this doesn't seem logical to me, after all, most abbreviations don't do this (in AmE) so why should "math"? – Azor-Ahai Jun 13 at 2:20
@TrevorD - Typically a college course catalog numbers classes by year and sequence within the year (slight over-simplification). So 101 is a first-year class and the very first one in the sequence. – Hot Licks Jun 13 at 11:32

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