Some of my colleagues use the word "Notations" as the title of a section of a paper which defines their terms. I think the proper word is "Notation". I could not find notation on any list of words with the same plural as singular (but I did find the phrase "marginal notations," which I believe is correct, although not commonplace). Is "notations" an acceptable plural for "notation"? Same question for "informations".

  • Related: Why can't we say informations?
    – Andrew Leach
    Jul 22, 2014 at 14:58
  • It's perfectly correct. The section should be titled "Notations" because the section lists and explains all of the notations from the document. It's that simple.
    – Fattie
    Jul 23, 2014 at 8:23
  • information is a non-countable object, so of course, obviously, you can't say "information"s. you add an "s" on countable discrete objects, like cars, planes, notations, footnotes, whales, etc.
    – Fattie
    Jul 23, 2014 at 8:26

4 Answers 4


When used as a mass noun to indicate a set of symbols relating to a topic, it is used in the singular form.

Examples: Algebraic notation, algorithmic notation, set notation, percussion notation, etc.

When used as a count noun relating to multiple sets of symbols, it is used in the plural form.

Examples: new terminologies and notations

Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/notation?q=notations

Similar words: Audience/audiences, population/populations, people/peoples


For the title of a section in a paper, the usual word is 'Notation'. A reviewer should correct yours to this.

But if for some reason everyone in your particular academic community happens to use 'Notations', then use that.


Here it is reported as an example:


"notations in the margin"

but it may be a slightly different meaning, respect to what you mean specifically in your question (as to the generic title of your question, of course the answer is yes).

For a "title of a section of a paper", "Notation" should be fine, I think, as it is not meaning "notes" in that case.

Wolfram seems, however, to think differently : http://functions.wolfram.com/Notations/ and be on your colleagues' side :-)
Well in that case the plural may also refer to the fact that he is pointing to several subsets of definitions. Let me know your thoughts ...

  • I'm afraid this is more or less wrong, Pam. What woflram does is, obviously, of course, correct ... it's the chapter about all the notations seen in the paper. What else would you call the chapter about notations other than, notations? You wouldn't call the chapter about footnotes used in the paper, "Footnote". You wouldn't call the chapter about quotations used in the paper, "Quotation". It's completely commonplace that (say) medical research papers have a section/chapter "Notations".
    – Fattie
    Jul 23, 2014 at 8:25
  • 1
    Right Joe. That's exactly what I said: "refer to the fact that he is pointing to several subsets of definitions." As to papers, I think that "Notation" (singular), is the most appropriate way (clearly, not with the meaning of a collection of notes). So, I do not agree with your last sentence (unless, again, we are referring to multiple sets of definitions). But I am completely open to change my opinion given enough evidence :-)
    – Pam
    Jul 23, 2014 at 21:43
  • We are talking about mathematical notation. It sounds very strange to talk about mathematical notations, especially when it is referring to the system of notation used in a single paper.
    – yasmar
    Nov 14, 2015 at 23:28

I think it depends on the meaning. I would write about the notation used in my work, but different papers often use different notations. Hence, the plural "notations" certainly exists. For the section title, the singular "notation" seems more appropriate.

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