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'Noodle' or 'Noodles'? Which One Is Correct? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 14 February 2024)


Noodle or Noodles: Which One Is Correct?

The word noodle refers to a long, thin piece of food made from a mixture of flour or rice, water, and often eggs. It is a countable noun, and when talking about a single strand, we use the singular form noodle:

I found a noodle in the sink after I finished doing the washing-up.

Each noodle is coated with a delicious sauce in this recipe.

The child picked up a noodle and examined it curiously before eating it.

Can you see that long noodle hanging out of the pot?

This is a noodle.


Typically, we eat multiple strands at once, so we use the plural form noodles when discussing the dish:

I had a bowl of noodles for lunch yesterday.
I had a bowl of noodle for lunch yesterday.

We love eating noodles with beef and tomatoes.
We love eating noodle with beef and tomatoes.

Noodles are a staple in many Asian cuisines.
Noodle is a staple in many Asian cuisines.

This restaurant does not serve noodles.
This restaurant does not serve noodle.

Here we have a noodle dish, commonly referred to as noodles.
(Image by Chungah Rhee via Damn Delicious)


However, when noodle is used as an attributive noun (a noun that acts like an adjective) to modify another noun, we use the singular form noodle:

The chef shared one of his favourite noodle casserole recipes with us.
The chef shared one of his favourite noodles casserole recipes with us.

Chicken noodle soup is my go-to comfort food when I'm feeling under the weather.
Chicken noodles soup is my go-to comfort food when I'm feeling under the weather.

This restaurant serves a variety of noodle dishes.
This restaurant serves a variety of noodles dishes.

There's a very famous noodle shop downstairs.
There's a very famous noodles shop downstairs.

This usage is consistent with that of other attributive nouns in food contexts, such as apple in apple pie or chicken in chicken salad, where the singular nouns describe the type of pie and salad respectively.

The entry for the noun noodle in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


In summary, use noodle when referring to a single noodle strand or when modifying another noun, and noodles when talking about the dish in general.

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Examples from the Media

Instead of using a broth or pouring a sauce over the noodles, the seasonings and noodles, or "mein," are cooked together. Each noodle is infused with flavour and there are more than 30 different ingredients used. Edmonton Sun (2015)

James Adcock and his partner were fined $1000 each for standing up and eating noodles at the Potts Point markets on Saturday. The Sydney Morning Herald (2021)

When I need to rustle up a quick meal out of nothing, I often turn to my stash of dried noodles and Chinese seasonings. A simple bowl of noodles, stirred into excitement by a spicy Sichuanese sauce, finished with a little fresh spring onion greens and some fragrant seeds or nuts, is extremely satisfying and takes less than half an hour to make. The Guardian (2014)

I recently sat down with the two of them to chat about how Chinese food plays a central role in their relationship, and how every problem can be fixed with soup. More specifically, tomato beef noodle soup (more on that later). Toronto Star (2023)

This 20-minute noodle bowl with cherry tomatoes has a nutty kick. The Washington Post (2023)

Practice

Fill in each blank with either noodle or noodles.

1. I'm really craving some ________ soup after watching this cooking show.

2. For dinner tonight, we're having ________ with marinara sauce.

3. The recipe calls for two cups of cooked ________.

4. Egg ________ are my favourite food.

5. There's a ________ stuck to your shirt.

6. My brother and I love eating rice ________.

Answer Key

1. noodle    2. noodles    3. noodles    4. noodles    5. noodle    6. noodles

Recommended Further Reading

'Food' or 'Foods'?
'Fish' or 'Fishes'?
Pizza: Countable or Uncountable?

Real-World Examples of Misuse


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