If you have ever had a debate on this topic, come see what we have to say. You may have heard both clauses being used and some may argue that one is right while the other is wrong.
This article is here to enlighten you on which of the two is correct, why it is, and where people often get it wrong.
Exam is over vs Exams are over: Which is correct?
Which do you think is correct in the two clauses; Exam is over and Exams are over. If you choose Exam is over, you are absolutely right. If you don’t, you are not wrong either. That is right. If you choose Exams are over, you are absolutely right too.
However, every correct statement remain correct till they are used wrongly. At the same time, you cannot say that either of these two expressions are wrong unless you are sure that the message the speaker is trying to pass is in the other sentence.
Why are both statements correct? This is because Examination can be plural. There are several similar words that do not have plural forms.
In other words, if those words have to be pluralized, no ‘s’ is added unlike some words. When a person says he or she has exams to write, there may be a series of tests that he or she has to prepare for.
As correct as both statements are, they may still be wrong if they are used wrongly. In a situation where exams are over, it may be unsuitable to say ‘Exam is over’. Also, in a situation where an exam is over, it may be incorrect to say ‘Exams are over’
Why understanding the difference is important?
The difference between the two statements is quite clear. When the two clauses are put in writing and a person has to read, he or she cannot spot whether one is wrong or not. This is similar to saying a person is dead.
When I put it in writing, a stranger cannot tell whether I am wrong or not. To him or her, the sentence I wrote is totally correct. However, he or she cannot be sure if what I wrote is passing the message that I intended to pass.
In reality, the person whom I have referred to as ‘dead’ has only fainted and has regained consciousness.
Exam is over refers to one exam paper. When you go to write one exam and complete it, you can say the exam is over. It is one exam paper. Saying the ‘exams’ will mean you wrote more than one examination paper.
In this case, if you say your exams are over, you may be wrong because you have not written more than one.
You may still not be wrong if you have written other examination papers before that one. In other words, that particular exam marks the end of a series of other exam papers.
Exams are over as explained above means you have written and ended a series of exams. You can say this when the exam period has passed.
You can also say this if you wrote different exams from different sources and you don’t expect to write any more exams after the last one you have written
Where do people get it wrong?
People often get the two phrases wrong in two ways. They are listed and corrected below.
- “Examination is not addressed in plural”
- “Examination refers to only a period in which tests are given”
- “Examination is pluralized because of its many questions.”
- The first point is wrong because Examination can be pluralized. Due to this misconception, many people refer to several exam papers as simply ‘Exam’ or ‘Examination’.
- The second point is untrue also being not just a period of tests. Examination may be refer to a period or series of tests but each test is a separate examination.
Examination is defined as a formal test involving answering written or oral questions under a time constraint and usually without access to textbooks. For this reason, each test can considered as different examinations because they are meant to examine several things.
While a test examines your English skill, another one examines your technical skills, and another one examines your preparedness for the course you are hoping to study.
Examination can also be defined as a series of tests which are meant to test a person or something for only one particular purpose. For example, several exam papers may simply be to test if you are prepared for one course or subject.
However, as long as each paper tests different abilities, Examination can still be pluralized.
- The third point is also wrong. Many call one exam paper as ‘exams’ often because there are several questions on the paper. Each question is referred to as an examination but this is wrong.
- In an examination, several questions are compiled to test knowledge on a particular topic. While a person is not expected to know all about a subject, the several questions are compiled to test one’s level of proficiency.