Patience vs. patients – which form is correct?

The doctor has patients or the doctor has patience? Which sentence is correct? Read this article to find out.

Patience vs. patients Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

Patience vs. patients – which one is correct?

The answer is that both patience and patients are correct. However, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to using these two words, as they both differ in meaning but at the same time are linked in a tricky way. Carry on reading to find out how!

Patience vs. patients – what is the difference?

The words patience and patients are pronounced the same because in the connected speech the second “t” in patients is dropped and you get /ˈpeɪ.ʃəns/ which is also the pronunciation of patience. This makes these two words homophones, i.e. words with the same pronunciation but different meanings.

Both patience and patients are nouns with different meanings, but patient without an “s” can also be an adjective. The below sections with the definitions of these words will explain it all for you.

Patience – the meaning

Patience is a noun and refers to the ability to stay calm and accept a delay or something annoying without complaining.

Patients – the meaning

Patients is the plural form of the noun patient which means a person who is receiving medical treatment.

Patience vs. patients – more confusing facts

So the answer to the question asked at the beginning of this article is that both sentences are correct as the doctor can have patients as well as patience.

The tricky part starts here as patient can also be an adjective, but its noun form is patience! In this sense patient means simply having patience.

Confusing, isn’t it? Some examples of how to use patience and patients in sentences may be helpful to remember the difference between these two words.

Patience vs. patients – examples from the literature and press

He’s beginning to lose patience with her, she can tell.

Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake

There were three other patients in my room.

Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

Voters have shown time and again that they have limited patience awaiting results.

“Washington Post”, Nov 8, 2022

But a surge in inflation this year, plus a return by patients to prepandemic levels of doctor visits, suggest bigger increases are coming.

“New York Times”, Nov 4, 2022

Written by

After graduating with a MA in English Philology, Kasia lived for almost five years in the UK facing the challenge of trying to master the intricacies of English language, which is her consuming passion. Other things she enjoys doing in her spare time are singing in a local parish band, embroidery, reading, cycling, and enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.