I always thought that the word experience is only singular, but I see people using it as a plural.

Does word experience has plural form and in which cases it is proper to use it?

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    Much depends on the exact context. There's nothing remotely unusual about asking Did you have any bad experiences as a child?, but I rather doubt any native speaker would accept In my experiences only non-native speakers would say this. – FumbleFingers Jan 15 '16 at 17:54
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    10x, @FumbleFingers. I see it about user experiences using new Smartphone or Using this programming tools we can develop software that provide new experiences to the users. I was confused, because I used to use it in singular - exactly with in my experience. The speakers was from US. – Bogdan Bogdanov Jan 15 '16 at 17:59
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    Hi, Bogdan, please read the related question, Is 'experience' countable or uncountable?. The question was closed as off-topic but has an answer. – user140086 Jan 15 '16 at 18:10
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    There are words (trousers, scissors, glasses) that can only be plural when used with certain senses. And words like deer, sheep that can be singular or plural with exactly the same sense (apart from the matter of whether you're talking about one creature or many, obviously). But these are relatively difficult "irregularities" within the language. If I were you I'd concentrate on making sure you're bulletproof with simpler aspects of grammar - The speakers was from US, for example, should be The speaker was from the US. – FumbleFingers Jan 15 '16 at 18:15

It depends on what meaning of experience you are using, as some meanings are countable nouns while others are uncountable. It's not clear which meaning you are asking about in your question, but we can look at the two major meanings.

If you are talking about how much experience you have (e.g. work experience), it is an uncountable noun and it does not have a plural form. You can't say

* I have a lot of experiences as an accountant.

… if what you mean to say is that you have worked as an accountant for a long time. This meaning of experience is uncountable, so you instead would say

I have a lot of experience as an accountant.

(This usage is similar to the usual meaning of the word money: “You have a lot of money”, “I have no money.”)

By contrast, if you are talking about experience meaning an event, such as travelling to a particular place on a particular date, or being present for a memorable happening, then it can be plural to indicate multiple such events:

I have had many interesting experiences while travelling abroad.

In this meaning, it must be plural if there are multiple events; you cannot say:

* I have had many interesting experience while travelling abroad.

And of course, if there is only a single event, you can say:

I had only one interesting experience while travelling abroad.


I have heard experience used as a plural and in my opinion it can take an "s." For example:

"I had several bad experiences when traveling in South America."

Experience can also be used to talk about the overall collection of events:

"Despite that, my overall experience in South America was positive."

I have also heard this usage and feel it is ok: "Based on my experiences growing up..." This is talking about individual occasions. "Based on my experience growing up..." This is talking about the collection of events and happenings.

I'm an AmE speaker. It would be interesting to note if other AmE speakers support this or the opinion of speakers from the UK.

As mentioned in the comments, this is an answer that is also useful.

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