Should I say "Politics is" or "Politics are"?


Hello, shimo - and welcome to English Forums.

Politics is the name of the field, just like mathematics, physics and gymnastics:

His comments further highlight the growing role that partisan politics is playing in the debate on Iraq.

Politics is pulling America back down.

All Politics Is Global: Explaining International Regulatory Regimes by Drezner, D., published by Princeton
Sciences ending in cs take a singular verb: physics is, mathematics is. However, with politics usage isn't settled: politics is/are. (Politics isn't a science!) Sometimes there's a difference in meaning:

Statistics is very interesting. (science)

These statistics are very interesting. (statistical data)

Athletics is the British word for track and field and athletics are quite popular in Britain.

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You'll notice that I didn't include statistics in my example because I agree with CB there, but if you can't make it singular (statistic), then the form is rightly singular - as a field, science, or concept. There is no noun 'politic', hence politics is. Of course, you are free to use plural, as it is done. But I have given you three reputable instances of the singular.
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Mister Micawber There is no noun 'politic', hence politics is.
I have no opinion about this.Emotion: smile I have just given information found in dictionaries.

pol·i·tics, n. (used with a sing. or pl. v.)
1. the science or art of political government.
2. the practice or profession of conducting political affairs.
3. political affairs: The advocated reforms have become embroiled in politics.
4. political methods or maneuvers: We could not approve of his politics in winning passage of the bill.
5. political principles or opinions: We avoided discussion of religion and politics. His politics are his own affair.


"The verb that follows politics may be either singular or plural."

(Collins Concise Dictionary)

"I don't know what his politics are but he strongly disagreed with the decision."

(Cambridge Learner's Dictionary)

The correct conjugation is "politics is"


The example given ("His comments further highlight the growing role that partisan politics is playing in the debate on Iraq") is not appropriate. The subject of the verb is "the growing role" not "politics."

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Is this correct?

No one can deny that politics in America and around the Western world is less stable and less predictable than it has been in at least a generation.

As a term for the art or science of governing or for the activities and methods of seeking political office, the noun politics may be either plural or singular. Writers of this century more often treat it as singular—e.g., “Politics is a dirty game”—but when the word is shorthand for political beliefs, it’s usually plural—e.g., “His politics are not aligned with any party platform.”

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