Which one of these is more common or better to use?

Delete selected Item(s).


Delete selected Item/s.

Note: It should be used in our Document (not a Program).


In my 8 years of business and proposal writing for a U.S. corporation, I've always seen "item(s)," so I'm assuming that this is the more commonly used term, at least in business documents. I've never encountered "Item/s;" however, that doesn't meant it's not in use in some writing circles or certain geographical areas.

Which of the 2 would be "better to use" depends on the circumstances, such as the document, setting, intended audience, geographic area, etc. Without that information, it's difficult to make a suggestion.


The most common method is to know how many items are selected (if you're a human, you can see that, if you're a computer, you can be programmed to know that) and then ask the proper question based on the result as such:

If one item is selected, you ask: Delete selected item?

If more items are selected, you ask: Delete selected items?

If you want to omit the singular / plural part completely, you can go with: Delete the selection?


This is probably a personal view, but I think "item(s)" jars less on the eye, possibly because it offers 'closure' on the plural case. But then I find "s/he" infuriating and would much prefer simply "he or she"

Consider "item[s]" if you're writing for an audience of software developers, as they're more used to square brackets as optional parameters.

Any of the options will be understandable by all, however. It's a purely a matter of taste. The most important thing is to be consistent.

This site is temporarily in read only mode and not accepting new answers.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .