Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wonderings and Googlings (Wherein I wonder about words, then I Google them)

"media are"— 5.4 million hits
"media is"— 14.7 million hits


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7 comments:

Will Deuel said...

"Media is a plural word." That's the only way I can make it work.

June Casagrande said...

I flip that: "Medium is a singular word." Makes it easy to realize when the person writing the little descriptions for an art gallery missed the mark, "The artist worked in various mediums." Uh, nope.

Of course, that doesn't take into account fortune-tellers (mediums for the spirits), but that doesn't really come up in my life, anyway.

"Media," though, is now accepted by a lot of dictionaries and other authorities as a singular when it's intended as a collective.

"Various media are involved," but, "the media is changing rapidly."

I don't like change. But I've found it futile to resist it (except when it comes to all those expensive wrinkle creams in my medicine cabinet. In those I have great hope).

Joel said...

Sadly, it seems that "mediums" is increasingly common (and accepted by some authorities?) as the plural even for the other meanings of medium--not that I like or agree with that (or will use it, but, though I usually encourage the better way, I try not to freak out when my friends do). dictionary.com also lists "mediums" as the proper plural for the "road divider" sense.

On a related note, folks seem to have forgotten that "data" is also a plural or that such a thing as a datum exists. Sigh.

Concerning both "data" and "media," I don't really mind (though I rarely feel compelled to employ, even where it might be meaningful) the incipient singular from an erstwhile plural. That seems somehow more metaphysical and progressive than orthographically challenged. Ignorant inflection ("mediums" for the artistic and communication senses), on the other hand, is harder to swallow; it doesn't so much look to the future as sloppily forget the past. I know the former is probably usually just another manifestation of the latter, but I'm an optimist. Plus, a singular "media" kind of has a marital, unifying gestaltiness to it, though, um, with a decidedly Orwellian darkness. And, yeah, I can't usually bring myself to either accept spiritually or acknowledge grammatically the oppressive monolith that is modern media.

Still lovin' the google. I know they're supposed to be the next evil empire (speaking of oppressive monoliths), but I can't help myself.

June Casagrande said...

Wow. You made me look up words I had long since forgotten! Too embarrassed to say which ones ...

: )

goofy said...

If "media" can only be plural, then let's not forget all the other words that can only be plural: agenda, bacteria, bus, candelabra, erotica, graffiti, paraphernalia, trivia.

June Casagrande said...

There are some on your list I had never really noticed before. Never thought of erotica as a plural but, lo and behold, there it is in American Heritage online as plural noun that AH notes can take a plural or singular verb.

Thanks!

Will Deuel said...

Summa them there plurals is confusing.

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