Make Your Editor Cry: Energy (Awkward Plural)

Make Your Editor Cry: Energy (Awkward Plural)

BLUF: (Bottom Line Up Front)
“Energy” as power is a mass noun. It has no plural form.

The definition of energy as power: a fundamental entity of nature that is transferred between parts of a system in the production of physical change within the system and usually regarded as the capacity for doing work.

Under this specific definition, the singular of energy is energy and, in this sense, energy is a mass noun. Correctly, it has no plural form. Recently, the word energies has come into common usage because as well as meaning “power” in a general sense, the word “energy” can also relate to different types of power (e.g., a person’s physical and mental powers). In that sense the plural “energies” can be used. Examples:

Incorrect:
The sun creates energies because it is essentially a massive fusion reaction.
You would be wise to put all your various mental energy into other activities.
I merely took the energies it takes to pout and wrote some blues.

Correct:
The sun creates energy because it is essentially a massive fusion reaction.
You would be wise to put all your various mental energies into other activities.
I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. (Duke Ellington)

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