Dictionaries(dictionary.com, OALD etc.) suggest that leave (absence from work) is a noun- uncountable, which means it has to be "leave" for plural. Also, searching SE to find Applying/earning/validating leave and What does the "leave" mean in "parental leave" and "unpaid leave"? did not help. The title I used might not be explanatory per se, I couldn't think of a way to better phrase it.

I forwarded a combined leave request to my boss at work for several occasions at once. For instance, I requested for a casual leave on Friday, 6th July and Friday, 13th July and additionally a long planned leave from Wednesday, 25th July till Friday, 24th August.

In reply, the approval e-mail read

Approved, forwarded leaves are granted.

N.B: Please remain reachable on your cell phone and e-mail during all your leaves.

In my understanding, it should still be leave, but somehow leaves started sounding more correct as the reference was made to several instances of my leave (M-W illustrates an example and uses it for plural and wiktionary too). Is there a word "leaves" for multiple instances of leave if combined? Please quote a reference and any other usage.

Edit: added references which caused more confusion.

  • Now another question popped up in my head- why is it "Leave(s) of absence" when leave means absence in itself?
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 20:37
  • 3
    However your boss is a good person in comparison with mine, who doesn't grant me leave as he should do. +1 to the interesting question.
    – user19148
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 20:46
  • 2
    Your understanding is correct. The reply has used the word "leave" incorrectly. It's also poorly punctuated. I would have written this. "Approved; the leave you requested is granted."
    – user16269
    Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 22:33
  • @David: Thanks for the response. Is there any reference where it says "leaves" is incorrect? I'm sure the punctuation and grammar are terrible in the approval.
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 6:21
  • @Carlo_R.: :D Lucky to have a boss like him. :P
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 6:46

2 Answers 2


Leave may be used as a countable or uncountable noun when referring to the period of time one is away from a job.

Leave of absence is granted. (uncountable)

Leaves of absence are granted. (countable)

  • What about the usage of "leave" alone as in my example? Can i still use noun-countable ("leaves")?
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 6:57
  • So that makes "leaves are granted" acceptable, that is definitely a new thing for me. Can you please quote any reference.
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 7:02
  • "Leave" is simply short for "leave of absence"? They are not the same as I see them. "leave" is taking off and "leave of absence" is more of Permission as @Andrew suggests above.
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 8:39
  • 1
    Thanks Jasper. I'll wait for other people to post more answers. If i don't find any better explanation, I'll pretty much buy this.
    – Fr0zenFyr
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 9:00

To answer your supplementary question, leave in "leave of absence" means permission. It also occurs in the phrase "by your leave": "with your permission".

Leave has come to mean absence in its own right, and to use it to mean permission as in the examples in ODO is archaic.

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