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'The Following' or 'The Followings'? Which One Is Correct? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 24 September 2022)

The Following vs The Followings: What Is the Difference?

There is a lot of confusion among learners of English about whether the word following should be singular or plural. When do we write the following, and when should it be the followingsThis blog post will help you get it right.

The Following or The Followings: Which One Is Correct?

We use the following, not the followings, to introduce the thing or things that we are about to mention:

Please pay attention to the following: you must be at least 18 years old before you apply.
Please pay attention to the followings: you must be at least 18 years old before you apply.

✅ Don't forget to bring the following: a hammer, a knife, and a screwdriver.
Don't forget to bring the followings: a hammer, a knife, and a screwdriver.

Which one of the following is correct?
Which one of the followings is correct?

My grandma can't eat any of the following: seafood, nuts, and dairy products.
My grandma can't eat any of the followings: seafood, nuts, and dairy products.

We can also use the following to introduce the person or people that we will mention next:

The following is a boy who made a miraculous recovery.
The followings is/are a boy who made a miraculous recovery.

✅ The following have been selected to take part in the competition: Chris, Samuel, and Jeremy.
❌ The followings have been selected to take part in the competition: Chris, Samuel, and Jeremy.

The following are athletes whom I have coached: Amanda Watson, Chris Wong, and Tony Smith.
The followings are athletes whom I have coached: Amanda Watson, Chris Wong, and Tony Smith.

Another thing to pay attention to is subject-verb agreement. Whether the following is used with a singular or a plural verb depends on whether we are talking about one person or thing, or several people or things:

The following is a man who had avoided medical treatment for many years.

✅ The following are people who have been awarded a scholarship.

The following is a summary of our findings.

The following are things that you should think about.

Note that in all of the above examples, the word following is a pronoun. 

Macmillan Dictionary's entry for following

Do not confuse this use with the countable noun following, which means 'a group of supporters or admirers':

Dwayne Johnson has a huge international following.

Headquartered in London, the brand enjoys a loyal following among teenagers and young adults.

Macmillan Dictionary's entry for the noun following

The plural form followings is used when it refers to two or more groups of supporters or admirers:

These writers have huge international followings.

The two YouTubers have spent many years building their followings.

Examples from the Media

The following are 10 books that view the world in a similar way, giving meaning and shape to what it means to be human. —The Guardian (2022)

A spouse can bring the following to a marriage: love, emotional encouragement, financial support, intellectual stimulation, laughter, nurturing abilities, help around the house, cooking skills, an eye for design, a sense of adventure, etc. —The Washington Post (2000)

Thanks to social media lots of artists who aren't represented by the big galleries have massive followings and loyal collectors. —HuffPost (2016)

Linktree, which created the link-in-bio market in 2016, changed its visual brand on Monday as it tries to stay ahead of a dozen or so rival services by adding new features to help online personalities build their followings and get paid while not overwhelming new users. —The Sydney Morning Herald (2022)

Real-World Examples of Misuse



1. We use the following, not the followings, to introduce a list of items.
2. We use does with third person singular nouns (e.g. grandpa) and pronouns (e.g. he).

1. Alternatively, you could say read the following sentences carefully.
2. Beside, which is a preposition meaning 'next to' or 'at the side of', is not followed by of.
3. Alternatively, you could say to keep her hair tidy. A clip does not tie hair.
4. We say wait for someone, not wait someone.

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