Many native and non-native users of the English language avoid learning grammar because it entails technicality and complexity. Hence, you are not alone in this struggle.
If you ask a native speaker about the difference between “love” and “loves,” you may mainly get an explanation related to subject-verb agreement.
But, there is more to it than meets the eye.
The article in front of you today exhaustively discusses everything you need to know about the grammatical nuances between “love” and “loves” — with lots of useful bonus information towards the end!
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
What is the difference between “love” and “loves”?”
“Love” and “loves” differ in form and function. “Love” can either be a noun or a verb; hence, it can appear either in the subject or predicate part of the sentence. The verb “love” is used after plural subjects like “we” or “they,” while “loves” is used after singular subjects like “he” or “she.”
A grammatical discussion between “love” and “loves”
English grammar can be confusing in the sense that the “rules” could seem too technical or too boring to be appreciated by natives and non-natives alike.
For the natives, studying grammar could be tedious, irrelevant, and redundant because they, themselves, already know the language by heart.
Non-natives on the other hand may also struggle with grammar because the grammar of their first language could be way too different from English.
While natives can automatically tell the difference between “love” and “loves”, they may not necessarily know how to explain the grammatical subtleties in ample detail — not unless they are language experts or enthusiasts.
For that, our post today discusses all you need to know about “love” and “loves,” as well as other closely related concerns to these two words like collocations.
Let’s start with grammatical tidbits on “love” vs. “loves,” with more focus on syntax and morphology.
Part of speech: “Love” vs. “Loves”
The word “love” in itself, and without context, is generally a noun, although deliberately putting the infinitive “to” in front of it turns it into a verb.
“Loves,” on the other hand, can only be identified as a verb if the word is not used in context and no other linguistic elements come before or after it.
“Love” is an uncountable abstract noun that can only be used in its singular form. For this, the verb that should follow it should automatically adhere to the rules for singular subjects.
For example, we have to say “love is” and not “love are” if we have to construct a sentence in its simple present form, followed by whatever complement you want to add.
Love is blind.
Love is not a game.
Love has no definite rules.
Meanwhile, the verb “loves” is what we use after singular subjects like “Anne,” “he,” “the cat,” or “my cousin.”
English grammar prescribes adding the suffix “-s” or “-es” for singular subjects, which is one of the basic lessons we learn at school.
Due to this, we cannot use plural subjects like “they,” “we,” or “I and Carl” before the verb “loves”; otherwise, our sentence structure becomes incorrect.
Here’s how to use the verb “loves” properly:
She loves pilates.
Her mom loves gardening.
My aunt loves cooking, dogs, and kids.
By the way, the commas in the last example above are critical in making the subject “my aunt” neither a cannibal nor a dog eater. So, use your commas appropriately in writing, okay?
Verb Tense: “Love” vs. “Loves”
If we are going to particularly compare “love” and “loves” as verbs alone, the main difference between them can be explained using rules related to tenses.
“Love” is a transitive verb in English, so it needs a direct object afterward. Intransitive verbs are the opposite of transitive verbs, which means they do not need to act on direct objects to do their job.
“Love” is strictly used after plural subjects in sentences constructed in the simple present tense, while “loves” is strictly used when the subject is in the singular form.
More particularly, we use “love” after plural subjects like “they,” “we,” or “children”; “loves” is used after singular subjects like “he,” “she,” or “Stacy,” as well as “I” and “you,” which is an exemption to the rule.
Example 1 (love):
I and my sister love kickboxing and judo.
Example 2 (loves):
Kianna loves playing the guitar.
Simple present is used for talking about general knowledge or beliefs and habitual or customary activities, in which the latter could also mean things that happen repeatedly.
General truths are concepts and ideas that have been proven to be unfalsifiable like the sun rising in the east or languages being dynamic rather than static entities.
Whereas, customs or habits include you eating breakfast at seven or getting home from work at six in the evening.
Expressing these kinds of ideas in the English language entails knowledge on how to construct simple present sentences based on stern syntactical rules.
That said, we have to be extra careful in using the correct verb form depending on the number of the subject so as not to cause any misinterpretation among audiences.
Grammatical Contractions: “Loves” vs. “Love’s”
The confusion on whether to use “loves” or “love’s” comes from the grammatical concept referred to as “verb contractions,” especially on the latter word.
“Loves” is, again, strictly used for sentences containing singular subjects as in this example:
Valerie, my best friend, loves watching slasher films.
By the way, the phrase “my best friend” in the example above is what we call an appositive phrase — a special kind of noun phrase that post-identifies the subject “Valerie.”
Meanwhile, “love’s” is the result of contracting or combining the noun “love” and the linking or auxiliary verb “is” — something more commonly done in casual writing and speaking.
In grammar, contraction is the convenient attachment of two words, which is the noun “love” and the primary auxiliary verb “is” in the context of today’s topic.
For example, you can use “love’s” to shorten “love is,” as in the example below:
“Love’s blind.” is exactly the same as “Love is blind.”
The contracted form “love’s” may also be used to emphasize the idea of negation marked by the adverb “not” that should come after the auxiliary verb “is.”
“Love’s not greedy.” is exactly the same as “Love is not greedy.”
The emphasis on the idea of negation decreases if and when “is” and not” are contracted instead of “love” and “is” because the word “not” becomes less audible and readable.
“Love’s not easy.” is more emphatic than “Love isn’t easy.”
The last possible, yet least probable, way to use “love’s” is when the word “love” is nominalized or used as a name of a person.
This time, the grammatical construct involved deals with possessive nouns or more technically known as the genitive case in language studies.
The genitive case describes the idea of ownership which is represented using an apostrophe and a suffix “-s,” such as in “Paul’s eyes” or “Cindy’s skin.”
“Love’s hair color is ash blonde.” is the same as “The hair color of Love is ash blonde.”
In the example above, the word “Love” refers to a person’s name who has dyed her hair ash blonde.
That said, we can deduce that the more complete way of saying “Love’s hair color” in the context of the given example is “the hair color of Love.”
“Love” and “Loves” Collocations
Now that we have understood the grammatical nuances between “love” and “loves,” as well as the contracted form “love’s,” let’s proceed with the phrasal level involving collocations.
Collocation is a grammatical construct used to refer to the habitual or conventional ways of using words together to form standard, grammatical phrases.
Knowing and understanding the concept of collocations is important in establishing standardized expressions that can be used in teaching languages more effectively.
Listed below are some of the most commonly confused phrases with the word “love”:
“Love of” vs. “Love for”: Telling them apart
First off, there is no single, definite way to pedantically differentiate “love of” and “love for” because the meaning that these two expressions denote are almost always the same.
But based on online text corpora or collections of written texts, “love of” appears to be used slightly more commonly than “love for.”
However, the use of “love of” has also been declining over the years, while “love for” has been used in a more stable trend.
In terms of syntactic and semantic relationships, “love of” commonly appears in front of inanimate entities, like the one below:
Jonah’s love of music has brought her to many places.
On the other hand, “love for” is often used before animate entities, such as in the following example:
Elizabeth’s love for her children is unconditional.
If we talk about the prepositions “to” and “for” alone, grammatical conventions state that “of” is often used to denote ownership while “for” denotes purpose or direction.
Hence, we may also assume that “love of” can be more likely used in expressing the possessive form of nouns like “the love of Lisa.”
The love of Lisa (or Lisa’s love) is incomparable.
However, “love for” can be more likely used before the beneficiary or recipient in the sentence, such as in the next example:
The people’s love for the king shall reign.
“In love” vs “Love”: Knowing when to use which
The easy answer to the inquiry on when to use “love” or “in love” is that “love” is quite a flexible word, but “in love” is a fixed expression.
As “love” can either be a noun or a verb, then it may appear either in the subject or predicate part of the sentence.
Nouns can be used either as subjects or objects, and verbs, well, should be placed between the subject and the object. This makes the following sentences grammatically possible:
(subject) Love is elusive for some.
(verb) They love you no matter what.
(object of the preposition) She’s doing it all because of love.
Meanwhile, “in love” is a fixed expression derived from the word “love”; it is used to describe the state of having a deep sense of affection for someone or passion for something.
“In love” commonly functions as an adverbial phrase that post-modifies a verb, just like the example below:
She is in love with you.
The sentence above meat also be formally structured into “She feels love for you” or “She is romantically attracted to you.”
“In love with you” vs. “In love to you”: Identifying the more natural option
By and large, “in love with you” is more commonly used and, therefore, more natural and grammatically well-formed than “in love to you.”
Here’s how “in love with you” works in context:
(grammatical and natural) Sam is in love with you.
(ungrammatical and unnatural) Sam is in love to you.
Although the two expressions may just differ in the usage of the prepositions “with” and “to,” “in love to you” will likely make native speakers of English cringe when they hear it.
This could be because “in love to you” may have this “objectifying” effect on the prepositional object “you” — a pronoun mostly used for animate beings rather than inanimate ones.
In a nutshell, you have to avoid indiscriminately using “in love to you” and stick with “in love with you” to prevent misconceptions and misinterpretations.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Love” vs. “Loves”
Is “love” a singular or plural noun?
“Love” is a singular noun, but more particularly, “love” is an uncountable abstract noun. Abstract nouns are treated as singular in number in English.
Should we say she “love” or “loves” you?
Based on the rules of the English simple present tense, we have to say “She loves you” because a singular subject needs to be followed by the singular verb form or the one that needs the suffix “-s” or “-es.”
Should we say mommy and daddy “love” or “loves” you?
The grammatically correct structure in the English language is “Mommy and daddy love you” because the subject is composed of two entities, which means that it is plural.
Having the urge to check the peculiarities and nuances of grammar is a good thing because it demonstrates the constant need to understand how languages work in ample detail.
That said, reading language blogs like this is a healthy, commendable activity that is better done more regularly for a more comprehensive understanding.
That’s all for now. See you next time for more interesting grammatical discussions!
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.
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What is the difference between love and loves? ›
“Love” and “loves” differ in form and function. “Love” can either be a noun or a verb; hence, it can appear either in the subject or predicate part of the sentence. The verb “love” is used after plural subjects like “we” or “they,” while “loves” is used after singular subjects like “he” or “she.” What is this?What is the difference between love and loves in a sentence? ›
“loves” in English Language is singular, hence, it cannot be used with the word “We” which is plural. “loves" as it is here can be used for third person singular pronouns (He, She - He loves you, She loves you). So, the correct one is “We (Plural) love (plural) you. “We love you” is correct.Which is correct loves or love? ›
love is uncountable, so should be Love( not loves) ?? Subject-verb agreement. Singular nouns and pronouns use singular verb. She loves him.What is the meaning of loves? ›
: a quality or feeling of strong or constant affection for and dedication to another. motherly love. : attraction based on sexual desire : the strong affection and tenderness felt by lovers. : a beloved person : darling.What's the difference between I love you and loves you? ›
In brief: 'I love you' and 'love you' are phrases used to convey an emotional attachment to a certain someone or something. 'I love you', however, is usually reserved for your significant other or parents. While 'love you' is commonly used between friends.Can you love someone and not be in love? ›
There are many reasons couples reach the stage of one concluding: I love you but I'm not in love with you. But the heart of the matter is, they have lost that connection with their loved one. Two people can start out with joint hopes and dreams, but normal life can take them in different directions.Which is singular love or loves? ›
When you're in love with someone, you'll start to develop strong compassion for them. The powerful urge to be connected to this person brings new aspects to your relationship, such as emotional or physical intimacy, passion, and a desire to know everything about them, and be known by them in return.What are the signs of true love? ›
- You feel safe with them. ...
- They listen. ...
- They acknowledge your differences instead of trying to change you. ...
- You can communicate easily. ...
- They encourage you to do your own thing. ...
- You trust each other. ...
- They make an effort. ...
- You know you can collaborate or compromise.
He loves traveling. He loves taking trips. He loves her. It's said that she loves him.
Is it correct to say my loves? ›
The word “love” is an uncountable singular noun. So, if the word “love” is the subject of a sentence, then the verb must agree with the singular subject. That's why you must say “My love has …” , not “My love have….” The verb “has” is used with a singular subject, including the pronoun “He”, “She, “It”.Does she love me or loves me? ›
They mean the same. Just say "She loves me" unless you have some reason to use the other one. For example, emphasis or contrast. "She doesn't respect me, but she does love me."What is a stronger word than love? ›
Being enamored of something or with someone goes far beyond liking them, and it's even more flowery than love. Enamored means smitten with, or totally infatuated.What kind of word is loves? ›
Loves can be a noun or a verb.What does loves mean plural? ›
Singular. love. Plural. loves. The plural form of love; more than one (kind of) love.What is the strongest way to say I love you? ›
- I love you to the moon and back again.
- We fit together like puzzle pieces.
- You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.
- You complete me.
- I can't believe you're mine.
- You are a beautiful person inside and out.
- I am here for you… always.
- I'm yours.
If he says something serious about your relationship or talks about the future together, and says that he loves you in the same sentence, that's a good sign that he means it. He sees you in his future and that thought makes him realize just how special you are to him.What is it called when you love someone but they don t love you? ›
Unreciprocated or unrequited love is when you long for someone who doesn't share your sentiments. Perhaps you have romantic feelings, sexual attraction, or an intense desire to be close to someone, but they don't express or acknowledge the same interest.Can a relationship last without love? ›
But contrary to popular belief, love is not all you need. Relationships take a lot more than love to keep them going and love alone won't keep a couple together. Successful relationships take a lot of work to keep both people happy and healthy.Can you still love someone who doesn't love you? ›
The unrequited lover need not wish so impatiently for their love to end. Instead, they might embrace their love, for however long it persists. If you embrace your love, unrequited though it may be, it need not hurt you so.
What is the third form of love? ›
Love of Past Participle V3
The V3 form is “loved”.
Love evokes fond feelings and actions toward the other person, particularly. Attachment is driven by how you feel about yourself with the degree of permanence and safety someone gives you, based on your past relationships. In other words, with love, your person is “the one” you have feelings for.What makes men fall in love? ›
Physical attraction, sexual compatibility, empathy, and emotional connection are key to making a man fall in love with a woman.How do you know you found your soulmate? ›
A few telltale signs you've found a soulmate include a feeling of instant recognition and knowing each other, being inexplicably drawn to each other, and accepting who the other person is in totality.How do you know a man loves you deeply? ›
- He protects you.
- You are his priority.
- He wants you to be happy.
- He supports your dreams.
- He shows up when you need help.
- He tries to make you feel better.
- He is making plans for your future.
- He shows up with plans already made.
- The person asks you for money, favors, or other items. ...
- The person imposes on you without consideration for your availability or preferences. ...
- The person expects you to take care of their needs. ...
- The person appears disinterested in you after their needs have been met.
You decide every day how or if you cultivate love in your relationship. You can experience great love in many ways — romantically, platonically, companionable — but it's rarely a force out of your control. At some point, love is a choice — and a lot of work!What are examples of love? ›
Extreme feelings of attachment, affection, and need. Dramatic, sudden feelings of attraction and respect. A fleeting emotion of care, affection, and like. A choice to commit to helping, respecting, and caring for another, such as in marriage or when having a child.What is true love in one sentence? ›
True love means living for others, giving without thought of a return.What is love explained in one sentence? ›
Love is a very strong feeling of affection toward someone who you are romantically or sexually attracted to. Our love for each other has been increased by what we've been through together.
What does it mean when a woman says she loves you but is not in love with you? ›
When a woman says that she loves you but isn't in love with you, it simply means that you're currently not making her feel sexually attracted in the way that she REALLY wants. You can change how she feels, but you have to be willing to change your approach to her.What are the 4 types of love? ›
- Eros: Erotic, Passionate Love. We might as well get that one out of the way first. ...
- Philia: Love of Friends and Equals. ...
- Storge: Love of Parents for Children. ...
- Agape: Love of Mankind.
- "I need you." Sometimes we feel like dependence on another person is a weakness. ...
- "I'll sacrifice for you." ...
- "I like you." ...
- "I forgive you." ...
- "Let me help you." ...
- "I am committed to you." ...
- "I think about you all the time." ...
- "I'd pick you all over again."
The word 'love' was once '*leubh', a word used by the Proto-Indo-Europeans approximately five thousand years ago to describe care and desire. When 'love' was incorporated into Old English as 'lufu', it had turned into both a noun to describe, 'deep affection' and its offspring verb, 'to be very fond of'.What does love mean to a man? ›
It is a feeling of strong affection and typically requires both positive and negative aspects, such as patience and understanding. It is not just a feeling but an emotion that is often expressed through actions, such as giving gifts, taking care of someone, or simply spending time together.Is loves a describing word? ›
It can be a noun (or naming word) for a series of sensations, feelings and emotions. It is also a verb or “doing or action word” when it comes to experiencing it. In addition, love also functions as a noun modifier in “love affair,” an adjective in “loving relationship” and an adverb in “He looked at her lovingly.”Can I use my loves for two people? ›
“The fact that we can love multiple people simultaneously doesn't mean that everyone ought to have multiple simultaneous relationships that are romantic or sexual in nature,” she says. “It's really up to you to decide what feels good and what you have the capacity for.How many loves can one person have? ›
A study has shown that a person can fall in love at least three times in their lifetime. However, each one of these relationships can happen in a different light from the one before and each one serves as a different purpose.Does she love or does she loves? ›
They mean the same. Just say "She loves me" unless you have some reason to use the other one. For example, emphasis or contrast. "She doesn't respect me, but she does love me."What is the tense of loves? ›
The past tense of love is 'loved'.
What can we say instead of my love? ›
- I love you.
- I love so much.
- I love you a lot.
- I love you too.
- I love you forever.
- I love you unconditionally.
- I love you to the moon and back.
- I love you with all my heart.
Stative verbs such as want, like, love, hate and think are sometimes used in informal language to describe a state at a particular moment, or a state that continues for a period of time: Why are you wanting a new phone when your current one works perfectly well?Is loves a verb yes or no? ›
See, love is an action-word, a verb.What does loves of my life mean? ›
: the person someone loves more than any other person at any time in life. She was the love of his life.How do you know when a man loves you? ›
- You're part of their social media. ...
- They talk about a future with you in it. ...
- They never leave you wondering when (or if!) you're going to see them next. ...
- They're ~emotionally~ intimate with you. ...
- They want to meet your friends and family. ...
- They use “we” language. ...
- They show up for you—literally and figuratively.
A man who's falling in love tends to show his desire for greater closeness and intimacy in many different ways. He will likely prioritize spending time with you and put in real effort to make you happy. He may show you his softer side, while also serving as a source of strength and comfort when you need it most.What noun is loves? ›
love. [uncountable] a strong feeling of deep affection for someone or something, especially a member of your family or a friend a mother's love for her children love of your country He seems incapable of love. Questions about grammar and vocabulary?Is loves a simple present? ›
The simple present tense of 'love' is either 'love' or 'loves' and can be used in the following ways: I/You/We/They love watching basketball. He/she/it loves mom and dad.Can I say my loves for plural? ›
The noun love can be countable or uncountable. In more general, commonly used, contexts, the plural form will also be love. However, in more specific contexts, the plural form can also be loves e.g. in reference to various types of loves or a collection of loves. Find more words!