Flys or Flies: What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on November 26, 2022

Are you wondering whether it’s ‘flys’ or ‘flies’? We’ve got you covered. You’ll learn that, plus how to use the singular and plural forms of the word in a sentence.

The short answer is:

  • That ‘flies’ is the correct way to spell the word.
  • Any other spelling of the word is incorrect.

‘Flys’ or ‘Flies’: What’s the Difference?

The difference between ‘flys’ and ‘flies’ is that the former isn’t a word, and the latter is a word. It’s only correct to use ‘flies’ and never ‘flys.’ It’s incorrect and ungrammatical.

Flys or Flies: Which Spelling is Correct?

We’ve already discussed that ‘flies’ is the correct way to spell the word. Any other spelling of the word would be incorrect.

Definition and Meaning

Let’s talk about the definition of the word.

Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘fly’ as:

  • to move in or pass through the air with wings
  • to move through the air before the wind or through outer space
  • to float, wave, or soar in the air
  • to take flight: flee
  • to fade and disappear: vanish
  • to move, pass, or spread quickly

Other definitions of the word include:

  • to be moved with sudden extreme emotion
  • to seem to pass quickly
  • to become expended or dissipated rapidly
  • to operate or travel in an airplane or spacecraft
  • to work successfully: win popular acceptance

As a transitive verb, it’s defined as:

  • to cause to fly, float, or hang in the air
  • to operate (something, such as a balloon, aircraft, rocket, or spacecraft) in flight
  • to journey over or through by flying
  • to flee or escape from
  • avoid, shun
  • to transport by aircraft or spacecraft

Other definitions include:

  • the action or process of flying: flight
  • a device consisting of two or more radial vanes capable of rotating on a spindle to act as a fan or to govern the speed of clockwork or very light machinery
  • a baseball hit high into the air
  • a football pass pattern in which the receiver runs straight downfield
  • a winged insect

Some synonyms of the word include:

  • Aviate
  • Soar
  • Glide
  • Wing
  • Plane

Some phrases containing the word ‘flies’ include:

  • Time flies when you’re having fun (time goes by fast when you’re having fun)
  • Like flies to manure (used when something is very attracted to another thing)
  • You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar (you're more likely to get what you want with kindness and flattery rather than bitterness and anger)
  • A closed mouth catches no flies (speak up for what you want)
  • Dropping like flies (succumbing to a particular illness or problem)
  • Fly high (very happy)
  • Fly blind (low visibility or none at all)

Singular Form

The word we've been discussing is in its plural form. The singular form of the word is ‘fly.’ The ending changes because the word doesn’t follow the standard rule for pluralizing English words, which is to add ‘s’ or ‘es’ to the end of the word.

For example:

  • Photo > Photos
  • Hat > Hats
  • Food > Foods
  • Watch > Watches
  • Catch > Catches
  • Tux > Tuxes

Instead, it follows the rule that most words ending in ‘y’ follow. In some cases, that rule is to drop the ‘y’ and add ‘es’ or ‘ies.’

Take a look at a few examples:

  • Cherry > Cherries
  • Fairy > Fairies
  • City > Cities
  • Accompany > Accompanies
  • Emergency > Emergencies

However, some words don’t follow that rule (i.e., pay > paid).

How to Use ‘Flies’ in a Sentence Correctly

We’ve seen what the word means and how it’s spelled, so let’s take a look at some examples of how to use it correctly in a sentence.

  • My father flies from New York to London for work every month.
  • My rich friend only flies first class. She’s never even stepped foot in coach.
  • My sister, the world traveler, flies from continent to continent.
  • Flies are the most annoying insect on the planet.
  • Time flies when I go shopping. I guess I’m having too much fun.

Make sure that when switching back from singular to plural forms of the word that your subject agrees with your verb.

Concluding Thoughts on ‘Flys’ and ‘Flies’

As you’ve learned, the correct way to spell the plural of ‘fly’ is ‘flies’ and not ‘flys.’ There’s no instance where spelling it ‘flys’ would be acceptable. It’s ungrammatical and isn’t a recognized word in the English language.

When trying to spell the word, remember that you can’t spell ‘flies’ without ‘lies.’ It just might help it stick in your head.

Struggling with other confusing words? We have a whole library of articles dedicated to explaining confusing words in the English language. Don’t be afraid to pop on over whenever you need to.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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