Inspired by: "Functionality" rather than "function"?

I want to know if "functionality" is the correct word, in the context of:

Fast forward and other functionality may not be available...


However according to dictionary.com the plural is "functionalities", but as a native English speaker the "correct" sentence sounds more awkward to my ears:

Fast forward and other functionalities may not be available...

I would assume that it's referencing definition #2 which is "a function or a range of functions in a computer" which in that case, would make it a mass noun, right?

functionality - From (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/functionality?s=t) *You have to scroll down a bit.


noun (pl) -ities

  1. the quality of being functional
  2. (computing) a function or range of functions in a computer, program, package, etc

The Cambridge dictionary (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/business-english/functionality) offers more hints, indicating that "functionality" is either countable OR uncountable (mass noun). It then proceeds to use an example where the form is uncountable.

So when would you use "functionalities"? In common usage I hear "functionality" as a mass noun all the time, but never the pluralization.

  • 1
    In the case you asked about, I would call "fast forward" maybe a function of something but I would never see this as one functionality. It might contribute to the (single) functionality of something, e.g. your DVD player. The definition of functionality you gave even does not contain what you want to use it for. I think what you are looking for is OPTION.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 15:53
  • I would use feature, option, function, but not such a vague thing as functionality.
    – rogermue
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 19:32

2 Answers 2


My French colleagues use this word all the time in their English docs as it is the same word in French, but I find it jars on my English ears, and I often suggest the alternative term "features", typically used in computer contexts. So I vote for that or "functions", never functionalities!


It's completely fine.

You need only google to see zillions of uses exactly as in your example.

Sure, all modern English, particularly in AmE, is laden with "jargon-like" constructs. But this one is extremely common.

By all means, you can simply use "functions" - it's that simple - in the literal example you gave. But "functionalities" for better or worse is completely common in today's "jargon-filled" English.

  • My question wasn't "can I use it" it was "why can I use it?"
    – mfoy_
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 16:24

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