En inglés, sólo existe la palabra corn. Si hay más que sólo un maíz, tambíen se llama corn.

The corn was delicious.

¿Es maíz plural en español? ¿Y por qué? Wiktionary dice que maíces es una palabra, ¿pero los hispanohablantes usan esta palabra en el mundo real? ¿Cómo debo usar la palabra?

In English, there's only corn. If there are more than one cobs of corn, it's still called corn.

The corn was delicious.

Is maíz plural in Spanish? And why? Wiktionary says maíces is a word, but do Spanish speakers use this word in the real world? How should I use this word?

My Spanish is of low proficiency, so if you spot any grammatical errors, please help me by editing my post.

2 Answers 2


Yep. It is tricky. Just imagine that I was asking about the plural of "salt". You can have a "grain of salt". When you refer to "salt" you probably refer to lot of these grains of salt but you use it as a singular noun, not plural. If you go to a grocery store and they had many different kinds of this condiment (like salt from the dead see, pink salt, iodized salt,..) you could say they have many different salts or kinds of salt.

En ese supermercado tienen muchos tipos de sales. Me encanta que tengan tantos tipos diferentes de sal.

It works the same with "maíz" which probably it is not going to refer to a "grand de maíz" unless you explicitly say so. With "maíces" you would be referring to different kinds of corn.

Me gusta el maíz.

El maíz que he comido hoy estaba muy rico (y no he comido solo un grano)

En mi país hay muchos tipos distintos de maíces.

  • Siempre pensaba que maíz era incontable completamente al referir a la planta y por lo tanto se tenía que decir dos tipos de maíz (pero en singular). Desafortunadamente, no es posible usar N-Grams para distinguir entre unos maíces (al referir a variedades) y unos maíces (al referir a granos) para poder buscar la frecuencia de uso frente a unos tipos/variedades/cultivares/razas/especies de maíz Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 5:17

Maíz as a mass noun is the name of the maize or corn plant, the botanical species. You can say maíces to refer to different kinds or varieties of maize. An example from an actual headline:

Dow presentó 3 nuevos maíces híbridos con tecnología de punta.
"Dow presented 3 new hybrid maizes with bleeding-edge technology."

This is in the same way as you can, in English, say "meats" in "All meats have cholesterol, but red meat has the most."

Maíz can also be countable: un maíz means "one kernel of maize", dos maíces "two kernels", etc. Another way to refer to kernels of corn is using the common word grano ("grain"): un grano de maíz, dos granos, tres granos, etc.

The ear of maize is called mazorca; since this is a countable noun, you can have una mazorca, dos mazorcas, tres mazorcas, etc. If the ear is not ripe it might be called espiga instead, though that more commonly refers to wheat.

In Mexico and Central America the word elote is used to refer to the mazorca (ear of corn) when it is used as food. This is also countable, so you can serve un elote, dos elotes, tres elotes, etc.

In most of South America you will find the word choclo instead of elote to refer to an ear of corn prepared as food. So: un choclo, dos choclos, tres choclos, etc.

  • The word maíz is countable when referring to kernels (c.f. arena and pelo): "maíz 2. m. Grano de maíz." (DRAE) Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 5:10
  • @guifa Silly me! I've corrected it. I've never used maíz as countable, though.
    – pablodf76
    Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 12:59
  • I only just learned that usage yesterday when I looked it up :-) Commented Feb 5, 2017 at 13:00

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