A little training

trainingThe non-natives I work with sometimes use the plural trainings in their English. On the web it’s not hard to find this form being used in various languages:

Su partner global en Trainings de Management
Les trainings sont données dans plusieurs locaux a Paris centre
I trainings hanno l’obiettivo di condividere conoscenze
Trainings für Teamentwicklung und Kommunikation

But for most native speakers of English, training is an uncountable noun. The Cambridge online dictionary defines it as ‘the process of learning the skills you need to do a particular job or activity’ (my emphasis). This makes it less likely to be used as a plural.

For a countable unit of training, English prefers such compound nouns as training course, training day or training session:

  a disability awareness training course

  various other training courses we’ve been running

  people that come on their training courses

  there’s a training day on Saturday

  and the title of the workshop or the training session

  he does some training sessions

  training sessions to help digitally isolated residents get online

So the phrase a little training, used by a native speaker, would mean ‘some training’ and not ‘a small-scale training course/session’.

Further notes

Actually, there are quite a lot of instances on the web of trainings used by natives. The majority seem to be from those who offer such ‘trainings’ professionally; a substantial proportion are in the area of ‘new age’ practice/therapy. Among the general population, however, I think it’s fair to say that training is uncountable.

4 replies
    FREDERIC Roy says:

    “Les trainings sont données dans plusieurs locaux a Paris centre” There are spelling mistakes. “données” without an “e” because “trainings” is masculine and “a” with an accent because it is not the verb to have.

    Les trainings sont donnés dans plusieurs locaux à Paris centre.

  2. Roupell Darko
    Roupell Darko says:

    I would appreciate if you can take me on as your student . A little bit about myself, I have lived in Australia and UK for 23 years but still speak without a beat or cadence one would expect from a native speaker.

    My command of vocabulary and grammar is at C2 level, thus capable of producing any IPA sounds. The missing part is prosody and listening one of your videos was like a revelation to me about missing key.

    I am willing to dedicate 6 months to 1 year to work with you at intensity you deem required and if we turn around and equip me with native like cadence I will pay extra bonus one off of £5000 to incentivise your commitment.

    Hopefully I hear back from you

  3. Bob Jones
    Bob Jones says:

    uncountable → countable shift seems to correspond to familiarity… for most people “shrimp” is uncountable but for people who work in the shrimp industry countable “shrimps” is normal.

  4. Lindsay
    Lindsay says:

    My job periodically puts out “SGTs”, or self-guided trainings (digital trainings we do on our own). In this capacity, pluralizing training does not seem incorrect.

    That said, I also just completed a 3-week, instructor-led training for the same job. This was multiple days of various training categories and segments—but I wouldn’t pluralize training in this instance, as the 3-weeks was a single training (despite multiple smaller sessions).

    For reference, I’m 39 and from Western New York in the US. Uncertain if this is a “my job” thing, a “my generation” thing, or a “my region” thing, though.

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