Crisis Vs Crises, Which One Should You Use In Writing?

In all our daily conversations, we may receive messages through words that we do not fully understand. In some cases, these words may be in their singular form or their plural form. Singular and plural words are words that express one or more quantities of items. To put it simply, when there is only one thing of something, we are speaking in the singular. But when we refer to several things of the same element or set, we use the plural form. And this is precisely the case of the words we will review today: crisis and crises.

You might think that crisis and crises are two different terms, but they are not. A crisis is any event that leads to an unstable and dangerous situation, affecting a person, group, or society. Crises are the plural form of crisis; therefore, they are the same word.

Most of the nouns in their singular form become plural only by adding an “s” at the end. But it doesn’t always work the same way; there are many different rules for making a word plural. Sometimes the plural form can change depending on the letter in which the noun ends. Another critical point to consider is that irregular nouns do not follow the rule of the “s” at the end. In cases like this, the only option is to learn by heart the plural of irregular nouns. If you are curious to know much more about the word crisis, definition, origin, and uses, and about the rules to form the plural of nouns, keep reading this article.

crisis sign spelled with scrabble letters

What Is The Definition Of “Crisis”?

A crisis is a concept that is closely related to psychological stress components. It is a way of indicating that a frightening situation of great tension is happening. They are great complexity and anguish situations that can affect the family, the economy, or an entire society. The significant problem of the crisis is that the causes that generate it are unidentifiable. It is often not a single cause but many causes that simultaneously affect the situation, which is unknown.

“Crisis” contains the following elements:

  • It is an unexpected or surprising event. 
  • The crisis produces great uncertainty for the group that it directly affects.
  • The crisis represents a significant obstacle to the achievement of a particular goal or objective.
  • The crisis generally implies a radical change in the prevailing and known conditions.

Other Definitions Of “Crisis” As A Noun

  1. It is a crucial or decisive event or situation. It represents a turning point.
  2. It is an unstable situation, which may affect political, social, economic, or military matters. It almost always implies a change that is abrupt, sudden, and imminent.
  3. In the health field, it is the sudden change in the status of a disease. It is a way of indicating that the patient could recover or die.
  4. In psychology, it is the radical change of a traumatic or stressful type in the life of a person or group.
  5. In dramaturgy, it is the point in a dramatic play where the conflict will reach a climax before the solution arrives.

The Origin Of The Word “Crisis”

A crisis is a state of chaos, uncertainty, and distress found in Latin as “crisis” but comes from the Greek “krisis.” The Greek word “krisis” is closely related to the verb “krinein,” which means “to judge” and also implies a “decision” or “separation.”

The verb “krinein” has a great scope since it is also part of the structure of words such as:

  • Criticism (kritiké)
  • Criterion (kritérion)
  • Hypocrisy (hypokrisy)

Crisis generates unrest that can lead to multiple outcomes. The level of impact of the crisis will depend on the factors and elements involved. In other words, crisis can exert its effect at the institutional, economic, political, religious, social, global, and personal levels. The key in this type of situation is to seek a solution as soon as possible since the aim is to recover normality and clear the obstacles to move forward.

A timely reaction to a crisis is fundamental; this will reveal the capacity to solve the problems simultaneously while people adapt to the changes. These situations that are perceived as impossible to solve can become a great lesson and teaching moment for society.

What Are The Rules For The Plural Form Of Nouns Like “Crises”?

To make the plural form of nouns like “crisis – crises,” we must follow specific grammatical rules. In some cases, it will depend on the letter in which the noun ends, if it is a regular noun or if it is irregular. 

Plural Form Criteria For Regular Nouns

  • Generally speaking, we can make a noun plural if we add an “s” at the end of the word (dog – dogs).
  • When a noun ends with the letters “s”, “sh”, “ch”, “ss”, “x” or “z” we must add “es” at the end (watch – watches).
  • In some instances, some nouns end in “z” or “s,” and to convert them to plural, we must double the “z” or “s” before adding “es” (gas – gasses).
  • When the last letters of a noun are “f” or “fe,” we must change the “f” to “ve” before adding “s” (thief – thieves).
  • When a noun ends in “y” and has a consonant before it, we must change the “y” to “ies” (puppy – puppies).
  • When the noun ends in “y” and before it has a vowel, it is sufficient to add an “s” (day – days).
  • When the word ends in “o,” add “es” at the end (tomato – tomatoes).
  • When the noun ends in “is,” we must add “es” at the end (crisis – crises).

Plural Form Criteria For Irregular Nouns

Unlike regular nouns, irregular nouns do not have rules. The only way to apply and use them correctly is to learn them by heart. For example: 

  • Woman – women
  • Person – people
  • Tooth – teeth

How Do People Use The Word “Crisis”?

So far, we have had a fascinating journey through the world of knowledge to get to know the word crisis better. But we still have a little further to go to reach our goal. Here is a brief review of what is the primary use that people give to this versatile noun. 

  • People use the word crisis to signal a fork in the road. It is a time of uncertainty before events continue to unfold.
  • People also use the word crisis to signal that disease is at its climax. It is an analogy between the illness and the uncertainty of not knowing if the patient will recover.
  • We use the term crisis as an intermediate stage that will inevitably lead to something else. 
  • People use this noun to say something severe has happened.
  • A crisis is a noun widely used by people to refer to problems after natural events or disasters.
  • When people are affected by economic situations such as unemployment, bankruptcy, poverty, or money constraints, it is called a financial crisis.
  • When political parties, governments, or institutions of any kind differ on crucial aspects, there are no possible points of agreement.

financial crisis example image

Examples Of The Use Of The Words “Crisis” And “Crises” In Everyday Sentences

The uses of crisis and crises may still generate some doubts, so we would like to show you practical examples of the actual use of both nouns in simple sentences.

Examples With The Singular Noun Crisis

  • A severe economic crisis occurred at the beginning of this decade.
  • The crisis exploded after the discovery of acts of corruption in the military high command.
  • Peter was able to overcome the unexpected respiratory crisis that hit him last weekend.

Examples With The Plural Noun Crises

  • After many years of crises and debates, Congress finally approved the new economic law.
  • Humanity has experienced many climatic crises throughout evolution.
  • When eating disorders are present, many health crises can appear that are difficult to control.

A Final Thought On The Nouns “Crises” And “Crisis”

Beyond making a final reflection on the nouns crisis and crises, it is pertinent to emphasize another aspect. The essential use of the correct plural form. 

The correct use of words in all their grammatical forms is vital to create effective communications. Words like crisis and crises reaffirm that sometimes we have no idea of their correct spelling or meanings.

In the vast and endless universe of knowledge, we will always have room to continue collecting new experiences and learning. Knowledge will facilitate understanding the world and how we communicate with it more effectively.

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.