I am working on software unit tests these days, while I found most results in the web tend to use "unit testing" rather than "unit test". If you search "unit test" in google, you will see "unit testing" from wikipedia.

"Software testing" is also used more frequently than "software test".

From what I can get from dictionary. "testing" means the generic activity, and "test"means every small action in this activity.

Am I right?

Thank you!

test: countable noun A test is a deliberate action or experiment to find out how well something works.

testing: 2. uncountable noun Testing is the activity of testing something or someone in order to find out information.

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    As is usually the case, the -ing form emphasises the performing of the activity or, as you say, general practice, whereas the simpler noun focuses on the individual 'appraisal'. In school terms, testing is how data about how children are performing is obtained, while a French test is what you do on Friday say. Feb 6, 2018 at 9:19

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure why one has more usage than the other, maybe luck, but here's my interpretation of their meanings:

"Testing" would usually refer to the process of the test, e.g.

I am in the middle of testing the patient

I am testing the algorithm

"Test" would usually refer to the actual test in general, with no reference to time:

The midterm test is arriving!

How did you fail the test last week?

Have you prepared for the test today?


'test' and 'testing' are highly contextual, but there are two ways to aproach them. The first is singular and plural, where the word 'test' is singular and 'testing' is plural.

For example:

"I am performing a software test." - Singular

"I am testing software" - Plural

"I am runnning software tests" - Plural

The other way to aproach test and testing is specificity vs generalisation. 'Test' can refer to a specific type of action, where as 'testing' refers to a broader range of actions to provide the desired outcome.

For Example:

"I am running a software test." - specific. e.g. running a specific tes to find the cause of a problem

"I am testing software" - generalised. e.g. running a range of tests to find the cause of a problem.

Jobs titles often use 'testing' to reflect the generalisation of a range of specific tests.

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    'The word ... "testing" is plural' just doesn't work. It's an ing-form with both nounal and verbal affiliations, to varying degrees in different sentences; it is always seen as a composite and given singular form (no -s) and singular agreement (testing software/applications is ongoing). Yes, it references an ongoing procedure doubtless involving a plurality of tests (and possibly applications). Apr 7 at 14:56

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