In English, many words can be either a noun or a verb. The word “account” is one such example, so is it correct to say “accounts?”
Using “accounts” as a plural noun or as a verb in the present tense, third-person singular is correct. As a countable noun, we can make “account” plural by adding an -s at the end of the word to make “accounts.” We can use the verb “accounts” with third-person subjects.
In this article, we’ll talk about the plural noun “accounts” and its meaning. We’ll also discuss using “accounts” as a verb in the third-person singular. Meanwhile, we’ll look at some sample sentences, and, near the end, you can test your knowledge with a short quiz.
What Is Plural for “Account?”
The plural form of the countable noun “account” is “accounts.” Since “accounts” is a regular noun that ends with a consonant, just add -s to make it plural.
When you see someone use “accounts” with a noun marker like “the” or a quantity like “two” or “some,” you know that it is functioning as a plural, countable noun.
Is “Accounts” Singular or Plural?
The word “accounts” is plural, while “account” is singular and refers to only one account. Since it is possible to have more than one “account,” you can make it plural by adding an “s” to the end of the word (source).
What Does an “Account” Mean?
When we say “an account,” we are using it as a noun. The most common meaning of “an account” would be a record of transactions for an individual or business or a business arrangement where one party stores information about a client or multiple clients (source).
The Meaning of “Account” as a Noun
We would use this most often when talking about “accounts” on websites, such as Facebook or Amazon. For example, a website might have one “account” for each customer, but one customer might have “accounts” on many different websites.
Another common meaning of the noun “account” is a “record of all the money a person or company has spent and received” (source).
For example, your bank has a record of all the money you deposit and withdraw. We would refer to this record as your “account” or your “bank account.” Again, someone can have multiple accounts at the same bank or have accounts at more than one bank.
The Meaning of “Account” as a Verb
“Account” can also function as a verb. The most common meaning is to find a reason or explanation for something (source). When we use it in this way, we would almost always follow it with the preposition “for,” which turns it into a phrasal verb.
- You should account for your actions.
- We can account for every penny that we spend.
When we use the verb “account” in the present tense, third-person singular, we need to add an -s and say “accounts.”
- Nothing accounts for the fact that the dog is missing.
- That theory accounts for the large number of fish in Lake Michigan.
- Lack of rain accounts for the differences in temperature.
Can I Use “Accounts” as a Verb in a Negative Sentence?”
You can’t use “accounts” as a verb in a negative sentence, even if your subject is in the third-person singular. When you use the verb “account” in a negative sentence, you will use it without the -s. Here are some examples:
- His business cannot account for the missing money.
- That theory fails to account for the large number of fish in Lake Michigan.
- Lack of rain doesn’t account for the differences in temperature.
Can I Use “Accounts” as a Verb in a Question?
In the same way, we can’t use “accounts” in a question, even if the subject is in the third-person singular. In a question, we need to use the word “account.” Look at these examples:
- How does he account for his actions?
- Does that account for the popularity of small cars?
- How can she account for the lost library books?
How Do You Use “Accounts”?
There should be a noun marker before you use “accounts” as a plural, countable noun. Examples of noun markers include articles like “an” or “the” or possessive adjectives like “my” or “his.”
Using “Accounts” as a Noun
If you use an article — “a,” “an,” or “the” — with “accounts,” use “the” because only “the” can work with plural nouns. You can’t use “an” since that is only for single, countable nouns. Don’t forget; there might be one or more adjectives between the noun marker and the noun.
- The accounts are up-to-date.
- The accounts on that website are closed.
- I use the company’s online accounts a lot.
You can also use plural determiners, like “those” or “these,” possessive adjectives, like “my” or “their,” and quantifiers that can operate with plural, countable nouns. This could include words like “some,” “many,” or a number greater than one (source).
- Those accounts don’t have a lot of money in them.
- These Amazon accounts have been inactive for several years.
- My savings accounts at that bank are closed now.
- Don’t her investment accounts give her a good income?
- Do you have several accounts on eBay?
- That business has more than 10,000 customer accounts.
The Idiom “By All Accounts”
Many expressions use the singular noun “account,” but there is one that uses the plural form, “accounts.”
- “by all accounts” → noun.
This idiom denotes something based on the available information or what people are saying. It is usually at the beginning or end of a sentence, and we would typically set it off with a comma.
- By all accounts, his presentation was a great success.
- That restaurant isn’t very good, by all accounts.
Using “Accounts” as a Verb
Remember these rules when you use “accounts” as a verb:
- It works only in the simple present tense with a subject in the third-person singular.
- It is almost always a phrasal verb, followed by the preposition “for.”
- The subject is usually an uncountable noun, not a person or a place.
- The wet spring weather accounts for the flooding.
- Her extensive research accounts for the fact that her essay was excellent.
- Their honesty accounts for their success.
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Accounts”?
In many situations, it is grammatically correct to say “accounts” when using it as a plural, countable noun. It is also grammatically correct to use it as a third-person singular verb.
When Can You Use “Accounts”?
You can use “accounts” as a noun when talking about more than one customer record at the same business or on the same website. You can also use “accounts” when talking about more than one written or computerized list of income and expenses.
- My business accounts are healthy.
- He pays off his credit card accounts each month.
- The ledger in my desk drawer contains all my accounts.
- I check my bank accounts every week.
If you use “accounts” as a verb, you will only use it in the third-person singular of the present tense. Furthermore, you will almost always follow it with the preposition “for,” which turns it into a phrasal verb meaning “the reason for something.”
- The holiday weekend accounts for all the traffic on the interstates.
- So many travelers buying gas accounts for the high gas prices.
In What Context Can You Use “Accounts”?
The word “accounts” can operate as a noun in many informal and formal contexts because it is not a casual or slang word. On the contrary, we might consider it more formal and typically use it in a business or financial setting.
You may even see someone use the phrasal verb “accounts for” in an academic way. Often, it has a negative connotation, and people use it to describe the reason for a negative situation or make an allowance for something negative.
- Heavy traffic accounts for the high number of accidents.
- Bad weather accounts for the low attendance today.
Using “Accounts” in a Full Sentence
Let’s review a bit by looking at some sample sentences. One obvious example would be, “My investment accounts are doing very well this quarter.”
Now let’s consider the following. Does the word “accounts” work as a noun or a verb in these sentences?
- The quality of the material accounts for the price variation.
- My bank accounts show that I can afford a vacation this year.
- They have several accounts on that website.
Here are the answers:
When Not to Use “Accounts”
Don’t use the noun “accounts” when you are only talking about one account. “Accounts” is plural and always refers to more than one account. Also, don’t use “accounts” unless you are speaking in the simple present tense with a subject in the third-person singular.
For instance, we would say, “I have several accounts at that bank” and not “I have several account at that bank.” Similarly, we would say, “Your accounts on that website are not secure” instead of “Your account on that website are not secure.”
If you use the verb “accounts” with any other subject, it is incorrect. Also, remember you will almost always follow it with the preposition “for.”
For example, you should say, “Studies account for the benefits of exercise” and not “Studies accounts for the benefits of exercise.” Similarly, we would say, “His apartment buildings account for the majority of his income” and not “His apartment buildings accounts for the majority of his income.”
Again, don’t use the verb “accounts” if your sentence is negative or if you are asking a question.
- Poor nutrition accounts for the low rate of hatching among chickens.
- Poor nutrition doesn’t account for the low rate of hatching among chickens.
- Does poor nutrition account for the low rate of hatching among chickens?
Also, when you use the verb “to account for” in its infinitive form, don’t say “accounts.”
For example, it would be “It is hard to account for the fluctuations in price’ and not “It is hard to accounts for the fluctuations in price.” Likewise, it should be “The shop expects the Internet to account for a third of its business this year” and not “The shop expects the Internet to accounts for a third of its business this year.
And last, when you use a helping verb, don’t use “accounts,” even if the subject is third-person singular.
It should be “He can account for his time’ and not “He can accounts for his time.” Likewise, it should be “There were more mistakes than she would account for” and not “There were more mistakes than she would accounts for.”
What Can You Use Instead of “Accounts”?
There are several synonyms you can use for the noun “accounts.” For instance, the word “records” is very similar. You can also use the word “statements” or the word “ledgers,” depending on the context.
Synonyms for the Noun “Accounts”
If you are using the noun “accounts” as a list of money spent and received, a good synonym would be the words “records,” “statements,” or the phrase “financial affairs.”
- He keeps his accounts up-to-date.
- He keeps his records up-to-date.
- He keeps his statements up-to-date.
- He keeps his financial affairs up-to-date.
Suppose you are using “accounts” to refer to the information a website or business has about you. In that case, you could use the word “records” as a synonym if the information is mostly personal, such as a medical website.
- My online accounts are safe from hacking.
- My online records are safe from hacking.
Synonyms for the Verb “Accounts”
When you use “accounts for” as a phrasal verb meaning “the reason for something,” there are several synonyms you can use. For example, try “explains,” “justifies,” or the phrase “gives a reason for.”
- He always accounts for his actions.
- He always explains his actions.
- He always justifies his actions.
- He always gives a reason for his actions.
The third example has a slightly negative meaning. His actions may not be good, but he gives an acceptable reason for them.
Test Your Knowledge
Let’s test your knowledge of how to use the word “accounts.” Fill in the blank in these sentences with the word “accounts” or the word “account.”
- Farmland __________ for 40% of the total area.
- My bank _________ is overdrawn.
- The large amount of ginger in the recipe ________ for that wonderful aroma.
- He couldn’t __________ for his absence from class.
- I have three Amazon __________.
Countable vs. Uncountable/Mass Nouns
As a noun, “accounts” is always countable. A countable noun or count noun can form a plural, and we can use the indefinite article “a” or “an” with it in its singular form.
- a lamp
- an egg
In contrast, an uncountable noun or mass noun refers to a substance or concept that we cannot divide or make plural. These nouns can’t use the indefinite articles “a” or “an” but, rather, need the word “some.”
- some water
- some bread
However, there are some nouns that can be both countable and uncountable. This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
For more on the difference between countable and uncountable nouns, make sure you read “Food vs. Foods: What’s the Difference?”
It is grammatically correct to use the word “accounts” as a plural, countable noun. Using “accounts” as a verb in the simple present tense with subjects in the third-person singular is also correct. However, when using it as a verb in this context, it almost always requires the preposition “for,” making it a phrasal verb.