Lives vs. Lifes: Which One is Correct & What’s the difference?

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lives vs. lifes which one is correct

Once again, I have to emphasize the importance of using correct spellings because there are several reasons why this is so. 

Correct spelling helps to ensure that the intended meaning of a word or phrase is conveyed clearly. If a word is misspelled, it may be difficult for the reader to understand what is being communicated, or they might misinterpret the message. This often leads to confusion or misunderstandings and can affect the overall effectiveness of written communication.

In addition to that, using incorrect spelling can be seen as a lack of attention to detail or a lack of care, which can reflect poorly on you.

This brings us to the topic at hand: “lifes vs. lives.” 

What is the correct word? How can we use these words? I have all the answers in this short read. Let’s get started.

Lives vs. Lifes: What’s the difference?

One way to describe “lives” is that it is the plural form of “life,” which refers to the existence of an individual or multiple individuals. It is used to refer to the physical existence of living beings, the duration of a person’s time on earth, or to give someone’s location (or place of residence). 

To sum up these statements, we can say that the word “lives” originates from the noun “life” and the verb “live,” which means to inhabit a place.

For example, you might say, “He has led a full and meaningful life,” “the cat has nine lives,” or “he lives in New York.”

On the other hand, “lifes” is not a word. It is a common misspelling of “lives.” If you want to refer to multiple living entities, the correct way to spell it is “lives.”

People usually mistake the word by putting an “s” at the end of life instead of changing the “f” to “v” and then adding an “s.” For example, you can’t say,

  • Cats have nine lifes. (Incorrect

This sentence is incorrect because “lifes,”which is not a word, is being used as the plural of the word life. To correct the sentence above, we can rewrite it as;

  • Cats have nine lives. (Correct)

Defining the Root Word: Life

“Life” has a lot of dictionary definitions, but let me explain a few basic ones:

  1. The characteristic that distinguishes physical entities having biological processes, such as growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli, from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate.
  2. The period between the birth and death of an individual. 
  3. The quality that makes living things and plants different from non-living things, and which is not found in non-living things. 
  4. The general or universal condition of human existence: the human condition.
  5. The driving force of something or an inspiring entity/factor (i.e. the life of the party).
  6. Vigor, vibe, vitality, dynamism, or energy (i.e. everyone knew that Joe was full of life).

When to use Lifes in a sentence

Never use “lifes” in any sentence. “Lifes” is a misspelling of the plural of “life.” To form the plural of life, you must follow a rule that is also applicable to words such as the ones below:

  • The plural of “leaf” is leaves.
  • The plural of “calf” is calves. 
  • The plural of “wolf” is wolves. 
  • The plural of “knife” hoof is hooves, 
  • The plural of “knife” is knives

do not simply add an ‘s’ but the ‘f’ is replaced with a ‘v’ and add ‘s’ creating the plural ‘lives’ an example below;

  • The presence of a father figure played a massive role in their lives. (correct)

And not-

  • The presence of a father figure played a massive role in their lifes. (Incorrect)
“Lifes" is a misspelling of the plural of “life.”
When to use “Lifes” in a sentence

When to Use “Lives” In a Sentence

Lives as a Noun

“Lives” is the plural of the singular word “life.” To live is to simply be alive and not dead; to experience and survive a life-threatening encounter; and so many other definitions of “life.” 

Lives also point out a specified part of a person’s life as expressed in these examples; 

  • They keep their private lives separate from everyone.
  • College students make sure they maintain their social lives.

Other examples:

  • He put all our lives at risk. In this example, lives is a noun originating from life made plural lives.
  • They would start their lives together and live happily ever after. 
  • Do not play with people’s lives.
  • They could no longer cope with the loneliness in their lives

Lives can also mean the plural of “live video feed,” whether on television or the internet. For example, we can say:

  • I have seen all of John’s Facebook Lives.

Lives as a Verb 

The examples above show “lives” as a noun. “Lives” as a verb can be used to show a storage area or location. In this case, “lives” acts as a present-tense, third-person singular verb.

Take a look at the examples below:

  • The silverware lives here (location)

It can also be used to show that someone is still remembered even after death or to be kept in memory or record, one can say;

  • He lives in us all. (a memory)
  • This lives as a mark of his cordiality towards everyone who has met him. (remembered for something)

The word lives can be used to point out where a person resides; 

  • They/he/she lives in Paris
  • He/she lives in a flat above mine.

When using “lives” to describe someone or the condition of a place, it can be classified as a verb. Here are examples; 

  • The community lives its days in fear of contracting the virus.
  • Despite the danger cancer has posed to her life, Telly lives happily

Lives or lifes: How to remember

The temptation to add an “s” to life to make the word plural will always be strong, especially for non-native English speakers. These two words can be confusing, but some things can help everyone remember when and how to use them. 

Working on the pronunciations of the two words is the most effective route. The noun form of “lives” is pronounced as “livez.” 

  • Their lives (livez) depended on the arrival of the packages.
  • They needed this in their lives (livez).

The verb form is pronounced “livz.” 

  • He lives (livz) in the United States. (He resides in the United States)
  • The cat lives (livz) here because its owner left it some months ago. 

It can also be helpful to practice spelling the word “lives” correctly by writing it out a few times. This can help to reinforce the correct spelling in your memory.

Idioms Containing “Life,” Lives,” Or “Live”

How to use "Life," Lives," Or "Live" in a sentence
Idioms Containing “Life,” Lives,” Or “Live”

Here are a few idioms that contain the words “life,” “lives,” or “live”:

  1. “To live life to the fullest” – This means to make the most of one’s life, to fully experience and enjoy all that life has to offer.
  2. “To live in the moment” – This means to focus on the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or future.
  3. “To live on the edge” – This means to lead a risky or dangerous lifestyle.
  4. “To live up to expectations” – This means to meet or fulfill the expectations that others have of you.
  5. “To live by one’s wits” – This means to rely on one’s intelligence, resourcefulness, and quick thinking to survive or succeed in life.
  6. “To live and let live” – This means respecting other people’s right to live their lives as they see fit, without interference.
  7. “To live in fear” – This means to be constantly afraid or anxious.
  8. “To live through something” – This means to experience something difficult or traumatic but to survive it.
  9. “To live in sin” – This means to cohabit or have a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

Lives or Lives FAQs

1. Where can I use life and lives?

Life is singular and lives is plural; here are two examples to help you get a clear picture

  • I love my life 
  • They love their lives 

2. Is it daily life or daily lives?

There is no difference in the question; “daily life” is singular and “daily lives” is plural, so it depends on the context.

3. How do I remember the difference between “lives” and “lifes?”

A simple memory trigger to differentiate the two words is to check their pronunciation. Lives is pronounced “livez” if it’s a noun and “livz” if it’s a verb. lifes, the incorrect version of the noun is pronounced as ‘li-fes’ 

4. Is life plural or singular?

Life is singular, and its plural is “lives.”

4. Is lifes a word?

No, “lifes” is not a word.

Wrapping up “Lifes vs. Lives”

As I stressed in the introduction, using correct spelling is important for academic and professional writing, as it demonstrates a level of literacy and competency that is expected in these contexts. 

Incorrect spelling can hinder the credibility and authority of the writer and may even be viewed as a disqualifying error.

This is why it is so important for you to get small but crucial spelling problems such as “lives and lifes.” I’m sure that you’re no longer going to have problems with this word having read this post.

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.