Do native speakers of major English varieties actually say “a software” or “softwares”?

So I’ve looked up the word “software” around, and I’ve learned that -ware words are uncountable, and there’s even a claim at the Wiktionary entry for this word that “a software” or “softwares” are a non-native thing. Which makes sense, other languages have countable words that would translate better to “program” or “app,” but also to “software” as a broader concept, so when translating back into English, errors are bound to arise. But today I found that this dude named Grant who lives in Chicago and who sounds very, very much like native North American speaker of English (I haven’t found anything more about him), and he keeps saying “a software” and “softwares.” Are those a thing among native speakers of major English varieties (AmE, BrE, AuE)? I’m disregarding other varieties because they’re not commonly taught or featured and a lot of them have quirks, probably including these ones.

Edit: It’s not a duplicate, period. At least read the intent of the question, folks. Don’t just knee-jerk.


‘Software’ is non-countable (like ‘milk’). As a native American English-speaker who grew up with software (and a vested interest in it) and is nearing age 40, it seems like people who are quite computer literate and have been since before the age of smartphones will never say ‘a software’ or ‘softwares’ unless they’re joking, or mis-educated, but native speakers (including business managers/owners who aren’t personally into computers) do say this sometimes (much to the dismay or amusement of those who know better, such as the programmers who work for them). People who aren’t into software much or who don’t really know what it is have been known to erroneously say ‘a software’. The younger generation, and those who started using computers at the same time, are probably more prone to misusing the terminology if they use it, since it’s less common these days (they usually say ‘app’ instead).

‘Softwares’ seems to be less common than ‘a software’ by far, for native speakers. But, regardless of who says them, ‘a software’ and ‘softwares’ are incorrect usage—kind of like how ‘a women’ is incorrect and ‘women’ or ‘a woman’ are correct (I have no idea why people keep writing that, unless it’s autocorrect doing it).

Instead of saying ‘a software’ you should say ‘some software’, ‘a program’, ‘a computer program’, ‘an application’, ‘a software application’, or more modernly, ‘an app’ (although if you’re talking to an old-time computer techie, you should probably only use ‘app’ if you’re talking about mobile apps, since they didn’t grow up with that and the term became popular in the smartphone community, which wasn’t always everyone).

Instead of ‘softwares’ you should say ‘software’, ‘programs’, ‘computer programs’, ‘applications’, ‘software applications’, ‘apps’ or such.

It should be noted that software is a much more general term than ‘program’ and all those other words I listed. Software can refer to programming libraries/modules, media files, and other stuff (not just runnable programs—although as you’ll note in the comments, not all definitions of software are so broad as to encompass things besides programs). Anything you program as a computer programmer is software. The same is not true of the other terms. Even a chunk of code that does nothing by itself is software. Documentation for programs is considered software. Even files are software (for instance, images, text files, documents). Images and word processor documents may be software, but they’re not apps, programs, etc. Everything that is stored on a hard drive is, in my opinion, software (although some, if not many, people might contend that point, and think that software has to give more direct instructions, or be part of something that does in order to be considered software). Even websites are software (but please don’t call them that; just call them websites). Computer programs are things you can run and use directly (like OpenOffice, Firefox, Audacity, SynthFont, VanBasco’s Karaoke Player, etc.) Computer programs are also used to open files (if they support them; like, VanBasco’s Karaoke Player can open and play .midi files—but both the midis and the player are software, while the midis are not programs).

Source : Link , Question Author : Vun-Hugh Vaw , Answer Author : Brōtsyorfuzthrāx

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