Content vs Contents | Here are my contents?
March 31st, 2022 | 3 mins read
Are you a content creator? Do you create contents? Sorry...content? Uhmm contents? ...whatever!
Content and Contents are words I've struggled with a lot in my content creation career. At some point, I thought I finally got the hang of it. I believed:
Contents is the plural of content. One article--one content. Multiple articles--many contents. I even made a tweet showing my content page with the word "All my contents...".
After few comments on that tweet, I went back to Google to research the difference and now I can safely say, I finally get the hang of it. (or so I believe haha)
So what's the difference?
The easiest way to differenciate these nouns is: is it countable? This can be tricky but I'll try to simplify it.
Note that content has three variations:
- an adjective ("happy", "satisfied")
- a verb ("to be satisfied")
- a noun
We're focusing on the noun part in this piece.
Content is an uncountable noun which refers to the ideas or information or uncountable amount of something that are inside another thing. Things like this are impossible (or almost impossible) to count.
- The salt content of this food is high (you cannot count the salt, can you?)
- The content of the website (there's a lot of information in a website, also uncountable, init?)
This is a plural countable noun that refers to the countable things that are inside something.
- The contents of the briefcase (objects, which are countable)
- The bag fell and some of the contents got spoilt.
So if you have a website like mine with many articles and videos, do you say "Here are my contents?" or "Here are my content?" I'll give you few seconds
Before I give the answer, the first thing to do is analyze the countability. Talking about content(s?), I'm not just referring to the number of articles on my website. If it's just a list of my articles, that's actually countable, right?
But then, I'm referring to the articles as well as what the article contains. If I have two articles "What is Google?" and "What is a Dictionary", I can say I have two articles. But I cannot say I have two contents because the "What is Google?" article in itself has a lot of information, resources and ideas and in it which makes up the whole content of the article.
This means that content is this case is uncountable. So the right answer is "Here are my content"
What about "Table of content(s?)"?
This way, we've countabilized (permit this word) the content in a page by using the sections. We've made it a list of sections. So, this way, "contents", which now refers to the sections are countable. "This Table of contents has 4 items"
This piece may not be the perfect way to explain the difference. It still gets tricky in some cases and some times these words are used interchangeably.
Here's a tricky example; from my research online while creating this piece, I saw few comments saying "'The contents of the letter' is correct" and do you know how I feel?
"Just when I thought I finally got the hang of these words, then there's this example 😭"
The content of a letter are uncountable so why is there an s? I don't know.
It's so tricky that while writing piece, I got to a point and felt like "do I even know what I'm writing? 😂"
Anyways, I hope this article clarifies a lot of things for you. I'd also love to learn more about these words, so please share what you know, or any correction to this article via the comment section or you can reach out to me on Twitter @iamdillion