You Say Communications, I say Communication

A great debate (that few give a hoot about) rages about whether or not communication takes an s. Webster’s dictionary defines communication as (1) “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else,” and (2) “a message that is given to someone: a letter, telephone call, etc.” Communications is defined as “the ways of sending information to people by using technology.” For all you Oxford lovers, the OED slices it the same way.

So clearly, the argument is cut and dried. Or is it? Red-pen purists insist that a communications professional means the cable guy, and a communication professional dabbles in marketing and PR. Fine. But when you venture out into the world of everyday usage, you’ll find it isn’t always the case.

Communications Syllabus Montreal Translation English French

So what’s up with that? At Syllabus (technically Communications Syllabus), we work with many different types of communications, such as emails, website copy, and ad slogans. Note that here I’m using communication not as the act of communicating but as the physical objects (see definition No. 2 above), swapping the non-count noun for the count one. Does that mean that the s in our name is correct or incorrect?

As Susan Moore in her article “Communication or Communications?” aptly put it, “Neither is incorrect, language use is flexible and constantly changing, get over it.”




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