Grammar Chaos: Putting the Edit in Credit(s)

Posted on Feb 21, 2018

This Grammar Chaos entry presents the correct use of the words credit and credits as well as some sample sentences containing these similar but different terms.

If you can’t tell whether to use credit or credits in a sentence, this quick tutorial might just be for you! Don’t be deceived by that additional s!

Bad Credit and Good Credit

You might be familiar with the saying, “Give credit where credit is due,” which means it’s important to acknowledge someone for their hard work. But if, say, that person has made a lot of contributions—giving money to charity, finding the cure for a disease, saving your neighbor’s puppy from drowning that one time—why is it incorrect to change credit to credits?

Let’s start off by saying that the word credit has several definitions (e.g., extra credit, credit card), but it’s important to know that credit can be used as either a mass noun or a count noun. The more common use of credit is as a mass noun defined as the “reliance on the truth or reality of something” (take the example in the first paragraph). It’s also used in banking terms, referring to a person’s balance in their account. Here are some examples of sentences with credit as a mass noun:

  1. She exhausted all her bank credit on designer clothes and trips to Europe.

  2. He forgot to give credit to his wife at the awards ceremony.

  3. I asked my professor for extra credit work so I could pull my grades up.

On the other hand, credit as a count noun has a limited number of definitions. For instance, the floating rows of names you find after watching a movie are called credits. Also, credits are what a school or college gives a student after they complete the required classes for their course. Below are a couple of sentences using credits:

  1. When it comes to Marvel Comics films, people usually wait for the post-credits scenes.

  2. Did you catch my name on the movie credits?

  3. He completed his credits for his psychology major before graduating.

As a verb, the word credit works like any other verb: adding an s for singular doers and omitting the s for the plural. For example, a teacher credits her student for a job well done, while a businessman’s superiors credit him for an excellent presentation.

And that’s a lesson on the use of credit! The next time you feel a little confused about this word, feel free to check back here, and don’t forget to credit your sources!

If you need a hand on more grammar rules, visit the Grammar Chaos series on 1-Hour Proofreading’s blog. We give you regular posts on the dos and don’ts of basic grammar and proper writing.


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