Why this sentence is wrong: ‘Osimhen has many potentials’ (+ VIDEO)


There are at least two grammatical errors in the sentence, ‘Osimhen has many potentials.’ You will discover both at the end of this brief lesson.

Unlike other nouns such as book, farm and field, which are countable and have plural forms marked by ‘s’, ‘potential’ is normally uncountable, and cannot be pluralised with the addition of an ‘s’. This means that using ‘s’ with it (potentials), when indicating that the object you are referring to is endowed in more than one way, amounts to a grammatical blunder.

Consider these:
The man has a dog.
The man has many dogs.
Both statements are correct because ‘dog’ is a countable noun. But there is a problem with one of these:
The player has the potential to become a Messi.
The boy has many potentials to become a Messi.
The second clause is grammatically wrong because ‘potential’ has been pluralised. So, in the case of ‘Osimhen has many potentails’, the first error borders on the attachment of ‘s’ to ‘potential’. The second? Since you cannot pluralise the term as you do pen – pens, dog-dogs etc., you cannot use ‘many’ with it. Rather, you go for ‘the’, ‘a lot of’ etc., which can be used with singular and non-count nouns:
Osimhen has a lot of potential.
Watch the short video below for more explanation and subscribe to Phenomenal English on YouTube for more.