Singular or Plural: Is It Headphones or Headphone?

by Alex.   Last Updated On July 18th, 2022.
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Headphones are excellent tools to use when listening to music privately. While most people know how to use, operate, and connect headphones to their devices, not everybody knows how to use the word headphone or headphones correctly in a grammatical sense.

Both terms define headphones. However, they are used for entirely different reasons. The word headphones is actually a singular form of the term headphone. The word headphones refer to the actual headphones included with an s because headphones come as a pair. Meanwhile, the term headphone is more commonly used as an adjective for a distinct object, such as “headphone stand” or “headphone holder.”

Don’t worry if you get these two terms mixed up, as they still refer to the same thing; however, in a grammatical sense, it makes more sense to use the term headphone in referring to separate items related to headphone accessories.

In this article, we will tackle the correct usage of the terms headphone and headphones based on the English language, why the words are mis used, and when to use the two terms correctly.

Let’s get right into it.

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Is it headphones or headphone singular plural?

Contrary to what we’ve learned in most of our English language classes, the term headphones are actually not the plural form of the term headphone.

The term headphones refer to the device placed near our ears when listening to music. Headphones are made with two earcups and two speakers that cover our ears, which are gently held in place by a plastic or metal band worn on top of our heads.

The term headphones are the singular term as headphones already come as a set or a pair.

An example where you can use the term headphones in sentences such as:

“My newly purchased JBL T450BT are very good headphones.”

or “Early over ear headphones looks stupid” and “Supra aural headphones are also known as on-ear headphones.

Meanwhile, the word headphone is used as an adjective when referring to the accessories of headphones. An example wherein you can use the word headphone in sentences such as:

“Newer Apple devices like the iPad don’t have a headphone jack.”

or “Where can I possibly purchase a high-quality headphone stand?”

When to use “Headphone”?

The words “headphone” and “phones” are often employed in the adjectives, such as relating the headphone accessories of an individual headphone. “Headphone” is not considered a singular form of headphones.

Unlike earbuds, headphones have to be worn and cover both the ears or are not worn entirely. Instead, the word headphone is more commonly used when referring to headphones accessories.

Other examples when you can use the term headphone are:

  • Where did you purchase your headphone case?
  • What is your favorite headphone brand?
  • Why did Apple remove the headphone jack?
  • What is the best headphone stand that would make my earphone held upright?
  • What are the different headphone driver types?

How do I use headphones?

Headphones refer to devices, whether one pair or several pairs. Headphones are devices that let you hear audio. Similar products such as headphones are described by their names, but they have no such designation.

Its design is characterized by two speakers covering the ears that attach to a band worn over the heads. Due to this invention’s nature, the word’s singular form is “headphones.” So the pair are generally called sets.

In simple terms, the word headphones refer to only one distinct object: the stereo earpieces we would be wearing when we listen to music. You can use the term headphones in sentences such as :

  • Most people prefer circumaural headphones over other headphone types.
  • A lot of people get confused about the difference between headphones and earphones.
  • Andrea bought a new pair of headphones to use with her Oculus Quest 2.
  • The one pair of headphones I constantly use just broke.

However, this rule does not apply to earbuds or earphones. While they come as pairs when you purchase them, you can use one earbud on one side without putting the other on the other side of your ear. This means you can use the word in sentences such as:

  • Mike took an earbud out to listen to what her friend was talking about.
  • While jogging, John only placed one earphone on one ear to be aware of his surroundings.

Which term is used the most?

Data from multiple sources and advanced search indicate that the word headphones are searched and used more often than the term headphone. However, these days, both terms are used and searched more frequently because of their rise in popularity, especially with Bluetooth headphones.

Grammatically correct use of the terms

The grammatically correct use of these terms can be pretty confusing. We’ve already established that the word headphones are the singular form of the term headphone. However, there can be some exceptions to this rule.

People tend to be confused about whether to use “these headphones” or “this headphones” since the word “these” commonly refers to something that is in plural form.

A good rule to remember is when referring to only one distinct object (headphones), then use “these headphones” such as:

  • These headphones were stolen yesterday.
  • These headphones are the most expensive on the entire campus.

When hearing the phrase “this headphones”, the first thought that comes to mind is that the phrase makes absolutely no grammatical sense. However, you can still use the term when referring to a set or pair of headphones, according to the new oxford American dictionary, such as in sentences like:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is headphone countable or uncountable?

Yes. Uncountable nouns are named as such because the objects they refer to are uncountable such as air, fun, satisfaction, water, or rain. However, countable nouns such as bed, app, car, and headphones can be counted.

In simple terms, countable nouns refer to a single quantifiable object or number of objects that can be counted.

Which one is correct, headphone or headphones?

Both words are correct. However, the two terms serve different purposes to make the sentence grammatically correct. When referring to the device itself, use the word “headphones”; however, when referring to headphones’ accessories, use the term “headphone.”

Is earbuds singular or plural?

Unlike headphones, earbuds are the plural form of the word earbud. Earbuds differ from headphones because you can wear one on one ear while headphones are either worn together or not worn at all.

Where can we use headphones?

You can use headphones wherever you like. You can use them to listen to music when commuting and traveling. You can also use them to start a podcast, produce Youtube videos, or edit them.

How to safely store headphones?

The best way to safely store your headphones is by purchasing a headphone bag to ensure that your headphones are safe even when you constantly travel.

Conclusion

Knowing how to use the term headphones and headphone is just as important as knowing how to connect them to one phone. So if ever you get confused on what term to use, remember that headphones refer to the device itself, while you can use headphones when referring to its additional accessories.

We hope this informative article has helped you understand the difference between the word headphones and headphone.