View Full Version : audience vs. audiences

05-19-2006, 08:01 AM
I am under the impression that "audience" is a collective noun: "The audience just loves the live band." When do you use "audiences"?

05-19-2006, 08:16 AM
I would only use audiences when referring to multiple groups. For example:

Audiences across the country laughed at Vote_Bot's robotic performance.

For one crowd, though:
The audience applauded Ray's moving performance.

05-19-2006, 08:49 AM
Several aspiring journalists requested audiences with Ray, but he chose only to meet with the comeliest of them.

05-19-2006, 09:11 AM
The Pacific Between is sure to resonate with several audiences.

05-19-2006, 09:57 AM
Both good examples.

Poet's is a helpful variant because it's a different use of the word audience, in that it's an audience of one, vs. an audience of many.

05-19-2006, 09:57 AM
So audience is a group of people. But "audiences" are different groups of "audience"?

05-19-2006, 10:20 AM
But "audiences" are different groups of "audience"?
If you include that an "audience" can be one person, then yes. "Audiences" is used to mean separate instances of "audience," however many people might be in that individual audience.

Ray's book appealed to several audiences. [multiple groups]
Reporters throughout LA requested audiences with Ray. [multiple instances of one]
The Times Book Review requested an audience with Ray. [one group, one instance]
The Queen of England was too busy to allow an audience with Ray. [one person, one instance]
The Queen of England was one of many royals in the audience. [one group]
Ray mooned two New York audiences before fleeing to Canada. [multiple groups]

05-19-2006, 10:23 AM
devil's advocate here (read: too much time on hands):

But if you're going to see someone, not hear them, shouldn't it be, say, a vidience?

05-19-2006, 11:13 AM
devil's advocate here (read: too much time on hands):

But if you're going to see someone, not hear them, shouldn't it be, say, a vidience?
Actually, when I looked it up, I thought something similar. But you would use the term "audience" for those gathering about a mime in a town square. Definition includes spectating and following, as in fandom.

One entry found for audience.
Main Entry: au·di·ence
Pronunciation: 'o-dE-&n(t)s, 'ä-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin audientia, from audient-, audiens, present participle of audire
1 : the act or state of hearing
2 a : a formal hearing or interview <an audience with the pope> b : an opportunity of being heard <I would succeed if I were once given audience>
3 a : a group of listeners or spectators b : a reading, viewing, or listening public

05-19-2006, 11:15 AM
Theodore Bernstein acknowledges poet's objection and responds thusly:
Strictly speaking, an audience is a group of hearers, although its meaning is sometimes extended to a group whose principal activity is seeing, as the audience at a circus. The word is incorrectly used, however, in the headline, "Fire Draws Audience." Likewise, the onlookers at sports events are not termed audiences (The Careful Writer, 1965, s.v. audience).

Ray, the singular "audience" is (in its most common meaning) the group of spectators in an auditorium or theater. "Audiences" means two or more of these groups. One might write that an English-speaking comedian's routine fell flat with Italian audiences, for instance, or that Broadway audiences are fed up with high ticket prices, or that the tastes of concert audiences changed between the two world wars.