It may seem like a patronizing question, but which is the correct singular of lenses – lens or lense?
Many people argue that because the plural of a single lens is lenses, it only follows that the correct singular format of the word should, in fact, be lense.
While obviously, Photos With Phones is not a grammar site, we do frequently write about lenses (Moment lenses, clip-on lenses, and the list goes on). So, we decided that it is well within our right to put an end to the discussion – once and for all.
It is a lens. You should’ve learned this in photography 101. Honestly, you can stop reading here because the remainder of this post will bore ninety-nine percent of people.
If, however, you are brave enough to continue, here is why lense is an unacceptable word choice in every case within the photography niche.
Lens or Lense?
Yes, apparently, grammar does matter!
It’s going to settle this lens vs. lense controversy once and for all.
While many words within the English language have multiple correct spellings, lens is not one of them.
Some examples of these words with multiple correct spellings are:
- color and colour
- acknowledgment and acknowledgement
- colonisation and colonization
- flautist and flutist
- theatre and theater
- travelled and traveled
- yoghurt and yogurt
While it is mostly accepted that one of the above spellings is more correct than the other, the other is rarely refuted when written in any type of setting.
In most cases, the differences in spellings are between British English and American English.
Are you really surprised?
Lense, on the other hand, does not follow any of the grammatical rules used to come to any of the spellings used above.
It is not okay to use in America, in the United Kingdom, or even in Westeros (peep that Game of Thrones reference).
As a result, lense is not an acceptable method of spelling lens or an acceptable singular for the plural noun, lenses.
Do not use it.
Using the Correct Form in Sentences
Below we’ll give a few sample sentences where the noun is used correctly in both its singular and plural forms.
We will do this so that you can see how the word is supposed to be used and so you won’t inadvertently make any mistakes.
Notice how we do not use lense. This is done because lense is wrong and we do not want to be wrong (even to prove a point).
- When purchasing a smartphone with a camera, it is important to investigate the type of lens that it comes with.
- Moment has a vast and varied line of lenses that are ideal for all smartphone photographers – beginners and professionals alike!
- When taking photography 101 you should’ve learned that the singular form of lenses is lens!
As you can see in the sentences above, lens (the singular) and lenses (the plural) are used correctly. In no case is lense acceptable.
So, lens vs lense round one goes to the former.
Why the Confusion?
Well, there shouldn’t really be any. Especially because photography 101 is something you should have knowledge of.
It does make sense that if the plural of lens is lenses, then the singular of lenses could be lense. At the same time, academics and professional writers have made it abundantly clear that this is an unacceptable word choice in regards to camera equipment.
On the other hand, it is acceptable to say that you’re looking at, for example, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Kazamarov through a historical lense. This means that you’re using an academic discipline as a sort of way to view the work.
Supposedly this is acceptable in academic settings, but not acceptable anywhere else.
Oh those tricky academics, trying to give us regular folk the runaround.
For context, the spelling lense has never appeared in more than 0.0025 percent of books published in English speaking countries. The data used for this statistic has been collected since before the beginning of the twentieth century.
Essentially by all this blabbering we mean, don’t even try to use it unless you want to come across as a cross of pretentious, unintelligent, and headstrong.
So, pretty much just do not use it. It is not worth the chance of tarnishing your surely shining reputation.
We’ve proven which form of lens vs lense is correct, but we haven’t really really given a full lens definition.
So, now we will.
A lens is what is used in cameras to concentrate and disperse light rays. Lenses tend to be a transparent substance with curved sides. That’s pretty much a complete lens definition, but if you need something a little more substantial give this a read.
So, you’re here looking for a lense definition.
Well sorry, you’re not getting one because lense is not a real thing.
Again, there is no lense definition here!
SO, THE END OF THE LENS OR LENSE ARGUMENT
We may hope that we’ve ended the argument over lens vs lense forever and for always, but based on our research there are a lot of people that search this debate on a monthly basis.
Our only hope is that this post spreads like wildfire and educates the masses – photography 101 styles.
But, we do understand – as realists – that this post probably will not be read by the entirety of the world and as a result, the debate will continue.
So, if you’re one of the lucky few to read this post then be sure to share this knowledge with anyone who incorrectly uses either lens, lense, or lenses.
We definitely recommend pointing them in this direction if they are misguided in their grammar (or photography for that matter).
Just to reiterate, never use lense! And, if you came here looking to learn about lenses and just went down the rabbit hole with us, then here is what you’re looking for