I wrote,

"Is there office hours Thursday at 9am?"

I know the hours are plural but I feel it's a collective noun. "Office" is a noun adjunct making the meaning of "hours" more like a meeting or offering so I went singular. It feels awkward but "are" feels even more awkward.

So... Is or are?? Is "office hours" plural or singular in the educational context?

Update 1: My wife asserts is the same as pants. I replied that taking office out of the sentence would change the meaning of the sentence completely. "Is there hours Thursday at 9am?" That got me thinking that office hours may be more of a compound noun like toothpaste. Compound nouns can have a space between them e.g. bus stop.

The second part that I think is throwing me is the "at 9am". Can hours be at 9am? That's just silly, but office hours can be at 9am.

Update 2: I would have to agree with @BillJ on this one and that it's not a compound but rather the original noun-adjunct "office". Additionally, I did not include the context. In the US, professors have a time of day when they make themselves available to students. It is an open meeting. I apologize because as this might look like "hours of operation" for most people which would indeed make the entire question seem frivolous. Conceptually I was asking, "Is there a meeting Thursday at 9am?". This continues with the existence part, a meeting can or cannot exist.

Ultimately, my wife is right. While I may think "office hours" as an offering or an open meeting, it derives from a business office having hours of operation. The pants were plural then (literally and figuratively) and the office hours are now.

  • 3
    I would use are (American English). Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 3:46
  • 4
    Your sentence is garbled and ungrammatical. What is it exactly that you're trying to say? And compound nouns do not have a space between them -- they are virtually always single words. "Bus stop" is not a compound noun, but a syntactic construction with the noun "stop" as head and the noun "bus" as modifier.
    – BillJ
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 6:21
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    @Rookie I thought your question was about grammatical number.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 7:01
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    My inclination is to treat "office hours" as plural - "Office hours are 9.00 to 5.30".
    – WS2
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 8:18
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    Talking about "office hours" as a thing which can exist (using either is or are in a question like yours) doesn't make sense. You can ask "What are your office hours?" "What are your office hours on Thursday" or -- probably what you mean -- "Are you open at 9am on Thursday?"
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 9:27

2 Answers 2


In you situation, office is just a modifier, the actual noun is hours, which is plural, so, you have to use are.


The context isn't quite right. Do you mean a professor? Doctor's office? Government office? The sentence you wrote isn't really a natural way to express the idea.

Here are some correct options for AE: "Do you have office hours Thursday morning at 9?" "Do your office hours include Thursday morning at 9?" "Are you open/there Thursday at 9?"

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