In our system we have what you would call a List Screen, where a user can view a list of objects. For example Phone Numbers. A user can add as many Phone Numbers as they want. Right now to get to these List Screens using the menu the labels are singular. So it would say "Phone Number".

I am wondering if this is incorrect? To me having the labels singular makes it seem like there is only one. Are there best practices for using singular vs. plural when naming navigational menu options?

Example of some List Screen options in our Navigation Menu: enter image description here

  • 2
    Partly OT, but do you need Groups, Offsets, Summaries in the entries? Just having 'Accounts', 'Expenses' would be cleaner imho.
    – Alok
    Jul 27, 2017 at 21:48
  • " where a user can view a list of objects" This might come off as nitpicky, but that's not a list of objects, that's a list of classes. What does clicking on an item do? Does it take the user to a list of objects in that class? A constructor for that class? Jan 24, 2018 at 16:06

4 Answers 4


I use the following principle:

  • If there can be maximum 1 entry/item in a given category: Singular.
  • If there can be more than 1 entry/item in a given category: Plural.

I'd probably be more concerned about some other things:

  • Some of the labels start with very similar wording, e.g. "Reserved..." and "Revenue...", this can potentially be confusing.
  • I would also consider the information hierarchy. Some of the navigation items sound like they are related, e.g. "Reserved for Encumberance Accounts" and "Encumberance Offsets". If that's the case then maybe they can be grouped under one sub-menu, such as "Encumberance" --> "Offsets" and "Reserved Accounts".

Get among them! Ask your users, they're the ones that are going to use it. Sit them down and ask them, "which version is more clear to you," and go with the consensus.

Grammar may win the day, hopefully usability will.


I would personally go with the singular version in this case since your description sounds like the user is navigating to that point to add a single entry, for example phone number.

Even though users might add 1000 phone numbers over time, they want to add one phone number at a time. (assuming you cant add multiple entries at the same time)

  • 1
    Would your opinion be different if the user can add multiple at once? Because our users do have the ability to do that.
    – L. Lemmer
    Jul 27, 2017 at 14:00
  • If the users are able to perform/add multiple entries i would label them accordingly. Which also means i would mix singular and plural, if for example "Dimension" refers to a single entry/action i would use the singular labeling, if "Phone numbers" refer to mutiple entries/actions i would use the plural labeling. This gives the user a good hint what he can expect. Jul 27, 2017 at 14:05

For what kind of company is this for?

I think plural looks a little more intimidating, but if the users are used to having multiples of those objects, it makes sense. If this is for running a single business, for example, then only having singular of the majority of those options probably makes more sense.

If you can research them a bit more to see what they're thinking, that would be best.

  • The users that will be accessing these screens will most likely be administrative users who set up all the information. In my example above those options are coming from an 'Account Module'. So the user would navigate to Account then above those options listed there is a header "CODES".
    – L. Lemmer
    Jul 27, 2017 at 13:58
  • 1
    Do the majority of users have multiple of these objects, or just one? For example, if I were to use a Financial Stock App, I would expect to see a list option for multiples (such as 'Stocks' or 'Finance Reports'). Or on Facebook, we have the ability to search and find 'Groups', but only one 'Account', etc. I think it's all relative to the community and service you are providing.
    – sjsteve
    Jul 27, 2017 at 15:50

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