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Single vs. Singular: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 2, 2023
Single refers to one only, not involved or married; singular means unique or extraordinary.

Key Differences

The term "single" can imply being only one in number or alone in a category, such as a single option on a menu. It can also mean unmarried or not involved in a romantic relationship. On the other hand, "singular" often denotes something that is unique, exceptional, or out of the ordinary. While "single" can suggest simplicity or the state of being uncomplicated, "singular" can imply a more complex or noteworthy state of being due to its uniqueness.
When "single" is used, it can denote individuality, such as a single person standing in a crowd. It suggests separateness and can often be interchanged with words like "one" or "individual." Conversely, "singular" carries with it a weight of rarity or peculiarity, like a singular event that stands out in history. It often cannot be substituted with just "one" because it conveys an additional meaning of being remarkable or unusual.
In the context of quantity, "single" is straightforward, denoting one unit or one element, such as a single slice of bread. This is distinct from "singular," which, when used in relation to quantity, still carries an implication of exceptionality or unparalleled nature, even if it refers to one item or instance. For example, a singular work of art suggests not just one piece, but one that is particularly notable or distinguished.
In grammar, "single" can describe something that is not plural; it is just one, like a single word. "Singular," in grammar, specifically refers to a form that denotes one person, thing, or instance, such as a singular noun. While both can relate to the concept of one, "singular" is also a technical term in grammar, unlike "single," which is more generally descriptive.
The use of "single" is often practical and denotes a neutral state of being one, such as a single ticket for a concert. "Singular," however, conveys a sense of the extraordinary, such as a singular talent, implying that the talent is not just one among many, but notably distinctive. "Single" can describe a status or a count, while "singular" often describes the quality or uniqueness of an entity.

Comparison Chart


Alone or one in number
Unique or exceptional


Neutral, solo status
Distinctiveness, rarity

Usage in Relationships

Unmarried or unattached
Not typically used


Describes a non-plural
Denotes singular form in grammar


Quantity or status
Quality or extraordinariness

Single and Singular Definitions


Designed for one person.
He booked a single room for his business trip.


Strange or unusual; odd.
His singular behavior had everyone puzzled.


Only one in number or individual.
He purchased a single ticket for the show.


Denoting a single person or thing, opposed to plural, in grammar.
In grammar, 'child' is a singular noun, while 'children' is the plural form.


Not accompanied by others; alone.
A single light bulb illuminated the room.


Exceptionally good or great; remarkable.
The chef's singular skill was recognized by all.


A music release featuring one main song.
Their band just released a new single.


Being the only one of its kind; unique.
Her singular appearance made her a memorable character in the film.


Unmarried or not in a romantic relationship.
She went to the event marked as 'single' on her name tag.


Extraordinary or peculiar in some respect.
The detective had a singular way of solving mysteries.


Not accompanied by another or others; solitary.


Being only one; individual; lone
A singular tree in the meadow.


Being the only one of a kind; unique
"Our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared" (Barack Obama).


What does single mean?

Single means only one, or not involved in a romantic relationship.

Can singular refer to something commonplace?

No, singular implies something rare or exceptional.

Are singular objects always one of a kind?

Generally, yes, singular objects are unique or notable.

Can single and singular be used interchangeably?

No, they have different meanings and connotations.

Does single have a connotation of loneliness?

It can, but it typically refers to a number or marital status.

Is single a status?

Yes, it can refer to a marital status of being unmarried.

Can an event be described as singular?

Yes, if it is notably distinctive or remarkable.

Is singular used in mathematics?

Not commonly, it's mostly used in grammar or to describe uniqueness.

Does single always mean one by itself?

Yes, single means one, alone, or unaccompanied.

Is single ever used in grammar?

Yes, to denote a single unit, as opposed to plural.

Is a singular choice always a good one?

Not necessarily, it simply means it's a noteworthy choice.

Can a piece of artwork be described as singular?

Yes, if it's particularly extraordinary or unique.

Does single relate to quantity?

Yes, single relates to a single unit or individual.

What's a single in music?

It's a release that typically features one main song.

Can a person be singular?

Yes, if they are exceptionally unique or remarkable.

Do single and singular have the same root?

Yes, they both derive from Latin meaning 'one.'

Can an item on a menu be a single?

Yes, if it is one item offered by itself.

Can singular refer to a grammatical number?

Yes, singular denotes a single entity in grammar.

Is being single a choice?

It can be a personal choice or circumstance.

Can singular refer to a solitary person?

Not in the usual sense; it refers to their distinctive qualities.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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