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Criterion/criteria

Criterion is singular. Its plural is criteria. The error I hear most often is the use of criteria as singular. It's just as wrong to say "This is the criteria" as it is to say "This is the books."

English has a number of words taken intact from Greek or Latin that have plurals not formed as are plurals of most English words. The most commonly misused plural is media. Media is the plural of medium, but media is widely used as a singular noun when it refers collectively to the news media. I often hear something like "The news media is acting irresponsibly because they have not covered the story thoroughly." Illogical as it may be, the speaker who says that uses media as both singular and plural in the same sentence. The true singular, medium, is rarely used in reference to the news media. It sounds a bit awkward, probably because medium has so many other meanings. If "news medium" sounds awkward to you, I suggest you say "one of the news media." In any case, avoid using media as singular.


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