Lense or Lens – Which is Correct?

enhancedwriting/ August 16, 2017/ Uncategorized

lense versus lens

What’s the Difference Between Lens and Lense?

Lens and lense might seem like alternate spellings of the same word, but this isn’t the case. Lense is actually a common misspelling of lens.

Lens is a curved piece of glass. It most often is used to correct vision problems or in cameras.

  • The girl lost her contact lens while doing karate.

Lense is an incorrect way to spell lens. Many people think that because the plural of lens is lenses, it is okay to spell the singular form with an e.

  • My glasses lense is cracked. (incorrect spelling – use lens instead.

Let’s look at some of the ways to use, and not use, these words in English.

Using Lens in a Sentence

When to use lens: Lens looks plural, but it is actually the singular form of a noun that means a curved transparent substance that people look through. It usually refers to the lens of glasses, contacts, or a camera.

For example:

  • My left contact lens is very dry. I need to replace it.
  • It is important to keep your camera lens clean.

Lens can also have a figurative meaning.

  • to look at something through the lens of something: to consider an issue from the perspective of something else
    • Let’s look at shoplifting through the lens of psychology. Some people have a mental illness that compels them to steal.

This figurative use of lens can be used in many ways. Usually people say look at something through the lens of a field such as mathematics, medicine, or something similar.

Using Lense in a Sentence

When to use lense: Lense is not a word at all, so you shouldn’t ever use it. Rather, it is merely an incorrect way to spell lens.

For example:

  • I want to buy a macro lense to take close up portraits of interesting people. (incorrect spelling – use macro lens instead)
  • I found the perfect frames for my new monocle, but I still need to order a lense. (incorrect spelling – use lens instead)

Lenses is the plural form of lens, and contains an e. Don’t let this confuse you into thinking the singular form also has an e.

Remembering Lens vs. Lense

One way to help you remember to use lens and avoid lense is to use their spellings.

Lens ends with s, but is a singular noun such as bus or octopus. To make singular words ending in s plural, it is usually necessary to add an e and another s.

Just as it would be wrong to write the singular of bus as buse or octopus as octopuse, it is wrong to write lens as lense.

It may also help to think of the e at the end of lense as standing for error.

Outside Examples

  • It was the large camera lens that drew the attention of Amanda Chou, a budding Sunnyvale, California, photographer who was touring Yellowstone with her father, Stephen Chou. With all of the patience of a school teacher, Peaco gave Amanda a few tips on how to photograph the birds using a slow shutter speed to give the rushing water a silky appearance. –Houston Chronicle
  • “Individualism is a cultural system that emphasizes the self more and social rules less,” she said. “So as social rules fell by the wayside, and people were told to express themselves, swearing became more common. I think this cultural lens is the best way to view it, rather than as bad or good.” –LA Times
  • “People lashed out at the Ricketts [ownership] family and Theo and [GM] Jed [Hoyer], calling for their [heads], telling them they’re idiots and that it would never come to fruition,” Rizzo said of the leanest, darkest years, when last year’s title was nothing but a vision seen through the lenses of Rizzo’s left-handed swing and the potential returns on annual flip-guy free-agent signings. –Chicago Sun Times
  • A brief write-up in the British Medical Journal claims that doctors found 27 contact lenses in a 67-year-old patient’s eye when she was being prepped for surgery at England’s Solihull Hospital. –Chicago Tribune

Quiz: Lense vs. Lens

Instructions: Fill in the blank with either lense or lens.

  1. I don’t think my glasses’ _______________ fit my current prescription. (plural form)
  2. The librarian’s new contacts had one __________ that fit perfectly and one ____________ that seemed too big. (correct spelling)
  3. You sprayed water on the left _____________ of my spectacles! I need something to clean it off. (incorrect spelling)
  4. That type of camera __________ is incredibly expensive! (correct spelling)
  5. Professional photographers have many different types of ______________. (plural form)

See answers below.

Article Summary

Should I use lens or lense? Only one of these is the correct spelling.

  • Lens is the correct singular form for a curved transparent substance that people use in their glasses or in their cameras.
  • Lense is an incorrect spelling of lens, so make sure to never make this error.

Use the information in this article to ensure you accidentally write lense instead of lens.


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