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I'm getting confused on the usage of the words, holiday and holidays. When I want to say that I had a good holiday (or is it good holidays!?) with my family in Melbourne for 5 days, should I say:

Our holiday in Melbourne was great!

Or should I say:

Our holidays in Melbourne was great!

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    Holidays is plural, so it would be our holidays were great.
    – oerkelens
    Oct 7, 2014 at 11:01
  • @oerkelens The noodles was great!
    – Kris
    Oct 7, 2014 at 12:28

3 Answers 3

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Either of these are fine:

  • Our holiday in Melbourne was great!
  • Our holidays in Melbourne were great!

The second implies you have spent more than one holiday period in Melbourne.

However, this is not good:

  • Our holidays in Melbourne was great!

There is a disagreement between the subject (plural) and verb (singular).

"Holidays" while normally a plural, can indeed be used to refer to a single period of holiday, though not usually in the context you've given. An example of this usage might be:

  • Are you going anywhere over the holidays?

In this case it refers to a period of time when holidays are widely being taken. For example, the period between two academic years (usually a gap of 6 weeks or so) when many families with school-aged children choose to take a holiday; or the Christmas/New Year period. (Though in Melbourne of course, these two coincide.)

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    "Either of these is fine."
    – Kris
    Oct 7, 2014 at 12:26
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    "The second implies you have spent more than one holiday ..." No, it doesn't.
    – Kris
    Oct 7, 2014 at 12:27
  • "though not usually in the context" why not?
    – Kris
    Oct 7, 2014 at 12:28
  • That "was" in both sentences was a little bit of distraction as my initial question was whether to use "holiday" or "holidays," assuming that "holidays" could be used as a singular noun in such context. It seems I'm wrong to assume "holidays" can be treated as a singular noun, but my initial question is answered. So, thank you.
    – tim_wonil
    Oct 14, 2014 at 23:29
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This can depend on how you define singular and plural in this context.

There are many English people who say I'm going on me 'olidays, and it is common enough in my view to be recognised as idiomatic. It invariably refers to a person's annual custom of going away on holiday. At one time the only 'holiday' that ordinary people had were days such as Christmas, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Whit Monday etc. These were Holy Days - holidays.

When workers won the right to annual leave entitlement, they began talking about their 'holidays' since there was more than one day of holiday involved. So they began going 'on their holidays'. (I have not checked this with the OED but I feel sure this is the origin of this plural use.)

One senses that the plural form has been in decline for many years, and you were less likely, anyway, to hear this form among the well-spoken middle-classes, who pronounce 'oliday' with an H. They will say 'I'm going on holiday'.

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Holiday itself refers to a period of time, so if you use holidays you'll be mentioning a bunch of them.

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    Please try to back up your answer with some corroboration from reliable sources; and it would help if you would explain how each form may be of practical use, with example sentences.
    – Bread
    Mar 28, 2018 at 12:57
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    @Bread thamks, I'll keep it in mind for future. Mar 29, 2018 at 4:57

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