CORRECT USAGE

A general election is distinguished from party elections or by-elections.

The party elections we’ve just had on different days can take the “s”, Mr Wangalwa says, but not the August 8 General Election.

The Constitution requires a general election to be held on the second Tuesday in August every five years.

The term “election” cannot be pluralised unless we are referring to more than one event.

The terms “election” and “general election” have a British etymology.

Notice how the BBC uses the terms in a story published on May 15.

“UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called a general election on 8 June - three years earlier than scheduled.

"Why did Theresa May call an election? … Mrs May’s Conservative Party has a big opinion poll lead over Labour so she will be hoping the election will see her getting a bigger majority in the House of Commons ….. Mrs May is also tied to the promises made by the Conservatives at the 2015 election when David Cameron was prime minister.”

PLURAL AND SINGULAR

One grammarian said the word “elections” is a lot like the word “fishes”.

“When you are talking about many of the same kind of fish, they are pluralised as ‘fish’.

For example, when seeing a school of trout it would be grammatically correct to exclaim, “Look at all those fish!”.

When you are casting many ballots on the same election day, it is an “election”.

For example: I voted for every libertarian in the last election. When you are talking about many different kinds of fish, the word is ‘fishes’.

For example: Many different fishes live in Lake Texoma. When you are talking about many different election days, the appropriate word is ‘elections’.

For example: Barack Obama has won many elections.”

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