Distinguishing Between Phenomenon & Phenomena

Phenomenon vs Phenomena

The distinction between phenomenon and phenomena is that phenomena is the plural form of phenomenon. Phenomena are extraordinary events that can be observed with our senses. Sometimes, natural occurrences that can be seen with our eyes are referred to as a phenomenon. Thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc., are described as phenomena since the plural form of the word phenomenon is phenomena. Many people struggle to differentiate the two words because the plural form of phenomenon is different from the standard plural forms in the English language. In this article, we will discuss each term, phenomenon and phenomena, to help identify each term more easily in the future.

What does Phenomenon mean?

Phenomenon refers to an event that can be experienced with our senses. The word phenomenon is not used to describe just any event; it is used to refer to events with a unique quality and are not ordinary. For example:

As we watched the tornado, our hearts were filled with excitement as we were a part of a phenomenon.

The scientist watched the biological phenomenon with wonder.

In both examples, the word phenomenon is used to indicate a special event that can be experienced with our senses. A tornado is not a daily occurrence, and the specific biological activity the scientist observes must also be unique as he has used the word phenomenon to describe the event.

What do Phenomena mean?

Phenomena is the plural of the phenomenon, as is the case with many English words with Greek or Latin roots. Other words with the same plurals ending with ‘a’ include media, criteria for criterion, and data. The singular form of data is datum. However, the word data, though it is a plural noun, is used as both a singular and a plural noun.

The word phenomenon is used when there is an instance of a natural event occurring at a particular place. One cannot add ‘s’ to refer to such an event taking place at several places, and it is essential to remember that there is no word in English called phenomenons.

Adding an ‘s’ to phenomena is equally incorrect because the word phenomena is already plural, and one cannot add ‘s’ to something already in plural form. Can you add ‘s’ to fish when talking about several fish to make it plural? Therefore, the word phenomenon should be used when discussing an isolated incident, while the word phenomena should be used when talking about several similar events taking place. Thus, there is this phenomenon and these phenomena. Some people mistakenly say ‘this phenomena’ as it appears like a singular noun. That is entirely incorrect as phenomena is a plural noun, and it should be ‘these phenomena’ and not ‘this phenomena.’

Key Takeaways

  • Phenomenon refers to a unique event that can be experienced with our senses, while phenomena is the plural form of phenomenon.
  • Phenomenon has Greek and Latin roots, and phenomena follow the tradition of making a plural by adding ‘a’ at the end of words with Latin or Greek roots, such as media, criteria, etc.
  • It is essential not to confuse the two terms and remember that phenomena is plural, and phenomenon is singular.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles