When something traumatic and/or world-altering happens, it is commonly referred to as a ‘crisis’. While we, as humans, do everything we can to avoid these types of events, everyone has and will be subjected to some sort of crisis in his/her life. Sometimes, unfortunately, we can be plagued with more than one crisis at once, leading to the question (amongst other things) ‘What is the plural of crisis in English?’. This is a commonly asked question, and one that is not as straightforward as we may hope. In this writing, we’ll be talking about how to spell and how to use, and when to use crisis plural form.
How Do We Spell the Plural of Crisis and Use It?
The very first thing that you may be asking yourself is, ‘How do I spell the plural of crisis in English?’ This is a great question! When referring to one singular crisis, we call it just that, a crisis. However, when referring to multiple, we just take off that ‘-is’ at the end of the word, and replace it with an ‘-es’. So the plural is “crises”.
Let’s see that in action, shall we? If a country is facing a natural disaster, like a tsunami, that would be a crisis of course! If that same country were also facing an economic downturn, in addition to that tsunami, those together would be crises. Easy enough, right? Let’s look at another example. If someone, personally, is facing a sudden medical ailment, that may be referred to as a crisis. Similarly, if that person is also facing financial trouble, those issues together would be called crises.
How Do We Say “Crises”?
Phonetically, it looks like the words crisis and crises are pronounced the exact same. That is, unfortunately, one of the hard parts of the English language is that words are not always pronounced the way that they look. But it’s okay! Let’s look through the differences between these words together.
First, let’s recap last section’s teachings. Crisis plural is crises. We use the term “crises” when referring to more than one crisis. The singular word, crisis, is pronounced like this: ‘cry-sis’. Again, although it looks like the crisis plural form, crises, would be pronounced the same, the ending is actually quite different. We still start the word with ‘cry’ however the ending is now ‘sees’, instead of ‘sis’. The whole word is read as ‘cry-sees’. Both words, the singular and plural form of crisis, have two syllables.
“My mom is having a mid-life crisis – she bought a convertible and took a cruise!”
“My mom and dad are having mid-life crises – they bought a convertible and took a cruise!”.
Notice in the above examples, that the crisis plural (crises) is used when the subjects (in this case, ‘My mom and dad’) are plural. If there is only one subject, my mom, we use the singular form of this word (crisis).
“In March of 2020, the world experienced a collective crisis through a pandemic.”
“Throughout the year of 2020, the world experienced multiple crises: a pandemic, racial turmoil, and political unrest.”
In these examples above, the first sentence refers to one crisis, meaning that we use the singular form of this word. In the second sentence, the focus is on more than one crisis, prompting the use of the plural form of this word, crises.
“I am going through a difficult health crisis right now; my kidney seems to have a bad infection.”
“I am going through a few different health crises right now; my kidney seems to have a bad infection and I am struggling with debilitating headaches.”
The first sentence above is a very typical use of the singular form of this word, referring to one singular crisis. The second sentence, however, is referring to more than one crisis (prompting the use of the plural of the word). Although it is still referring to one person, the sentence is referencing more than one crisis.
In a perfect world, we would have no use for the word crisis, much less for the plural of this word. However, because our world is ever-changing and presenting us with new challenges and issues, it is important to know how to spell, say, and use the words crisis and crises. If there is ever a doubt as to which word to use (crisis vs. crises), think first about how many the sentence is referring to. If it is referring to one singular challenge, we’ll call that a crisis. If it is instead referring to more than one challenge, we’ll call those collectively crises.