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Wikipedia:Naming conventions (plurals)

In general, Wikipedia articles have singular titles; for example, our article on everyone's favorite canine is Dog, not Dogs. This rule exists to promote consistency in our article titles and generally leads to slightly more concise titles as well.

Exceptions exist for two general types of articles.

ExceptionsEdit

There are two main types of exceptions to this rule:

In rare circumstances, we ignore the rules here in order to make the encyclopedia better.

These rules only apply to articles. Categories are almost always given plural titles, and many templates are as well.

Primary topicEdit

Since most articles (like Chair) are at the singular, the normal situation is that a plural redirects to its singular. For instance, Chairs is a redirect page, which takes readers directly to Chair. For the rare articles that are in the plural, like Seattle Seahawks, there should normally be a redirect from the singular form (Seattle Seahawk). Such redirects can bear their respective templates, as well: {{R from plural}} or {{R to plural}}.

Sometimes, however, a plural form will establish a separate primary topic. Windows does not go to Window, but rather to Microsoft Windows; Snicker redirects to Snickers, which is about the chocolate bar. It may also be the case that a singular form (Axe) has a primary topic, while a plural form (Axes, which is the plural of both Axe and Axis) does not, or vice versa (Android is a disambiguation page, but Androids redirects to Android (robot)).

Discussion and consensus among editors, possibly through a requested move, determines if there is or is not a primary topic. For instance, discussion and consensus might determine that Cars should redirect to Car (as it currently does), redirect to Car (disambiguation), or host a topic such as Cars (film).

In making such a determination:

  • A plural form is treated like any other topic.
  • The relationship between a singular and its plural is important, but not the only consideration. Because readers and editors are used to seeing titles at the singular form, and can be expected to search for them/link to them in the singular form, the intentional use of a plural form by a reader or editor can be evidence that a separate primary topic exists at the plural form.
  • Since normally users can be expected to search/link for/to topics using the singular form, searching/linking with a plural form is likely to be for a topic named with the plural form, when applicable. Example: Queens, the New York City borough, is the primary topic for the plural form of "queen".
  • If the singular is not usually treated as a countable noun, that makes it far more likely that a split is the best decision. For example, time is a straightforward and obvious primary topic, but usually we don't treat "time" as something with a plural. Accordingly, times does not redirect to time, but rather to a different topic (in this case The Times (disambiguation)).
  • Encyclopedic uses are given more weight than dictionary uses, per WP:NOTADICTIONARY. This may mean that if there is not an article at the singular form, it is more likely that a plural form can establish a separate primary topic.
  • Just as with any other title, a plural base title can direct to an article (Snickers), or to a disambiguation page (Suns). A plural base title can also redirect to an article (Bookends redirects to Bookend; Faces redirects to Face).
  • If separate primary topics are determined, add a hatnote from the plural page to the singular form (or vice versa).
  • Sometimes, what appears to be a plural form may also be a separate word, which can influence the primary topic decision. (Walls can be the plural of "wall", but can also be a separate placename or surname.)
  • Sometimes, even when a singular might be ambiguous and lead to a disambiguation page, a plural might be (relatively) unambiguous and lead to a particular singular use; Oranges leads to Orange (fruit), not to the disambiguation page at Orange. This is primarily because only a noun can be pluralized, and the only other "orange" whose notability rivals that of the fruit is the color, and even though technically an interior designer could talk about choosing among several different oranges for the color of the curtains, usually only the fruit is pluralized in common usage. The reverse can also be true, and often is: Paper is a stable primary topic, but papers is highly ambiguous (since "paper" is typically an uncountable noun), and accordingly redirects to paper (disambiguation).
  • Using a plural as a separate primary topic is not specifically encouraged or discouraged; this page only describes the conditions where it is appropriate to do so.
  • All of these apply to the reverse situation as well (Scissor redirects to Scissors; Tropic redirects to Tropics).