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When used as subject, is the word arts considered a singular noun or a plural one?

  1. Art is my favorite class at school this term.
  2. Arts is? my favorite class at school this term.

Why can’t we just say we’re taking or studying art in school? Why do we ever say arts as though it were plural but then use a singular verb anyway?

Does the answer vary by locality, such as in the United Kindom or Ireland, Australia or New Zealand, the United States or Canada, India or Singapore, or South Africa?

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    In India the often used style is 'arts'. We say, arts and science. It is like maths in India unlike math in many other countries. As a discipline arts is considered singular, like maths is difficult; arts is interesting; linguistics is a science - these are not used as singular. // Sometimes 'art' is used a little differently, like "He knows the art of swindling." (Here, it is not 'arts', but art.)
    – Ram Pillai
    Apr 26 at 17:48
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    Subjects in educational systems have local names with local grammars. In the USA, mathematics is singular, and so is its abbreviation, math; *maths does not occur in American English. Arts is another frequent word in names, as is Art, which is always singular. Arts, however, can swing either way -- if it's part of a name it can be either singular of plural: The Art School; College of Arts and Sciences; Arts, Science, and Technology, etc. Apr 26 at 23:10
  • The term arts is not used on its own as a subject in school. Fine Arts, yes, And other x arts, but not just art. tchrist is removing my comment, which is germane to the question. Mine is just as germane as John Lawler's comment.
    – Lambie
    May 22 at 17:11
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In a comment John Lawler wrote:

Subjects in educational systems have local names with local grammars. In the USA, mathematics is singular, and so is its abbreviation, math; *maths does not occur in American English. Arts is another frequent word in names, as is Art, which is always singular. Arts, however, can swing either way -- if it's part of a name it can be either singular or plural: The Art School; College of Arts and Sciences; Arts, Science, and Technology, etc.

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    @Lambie Industrial Arts was pretty much an obligatory class for boys when I was a lad.
    – tchrist
    May 22 at 16:29
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    @tchrist I thought you majored in the Dark Arts. May 22 at 16:34
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    @Lambie Please use the answer box.
    – tchrist
    May 22 at 16:56

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