a myriad tiny flies

< Previous | Next >

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
We were plagued by a myriad tiny flies.
Longman Dictionary

Longman says 'myriad' is an adjective here. What does the aricle belong to then?

Thank you.
 
  • Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    I think it's just wrong - it seems like a noun here (with an inferred "of" after myriad). To be an adjective, it should read "we were plagued by myriad tiny flies". Perhaps someone knows better, though?
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    As well as 'myriad', they appear to list 'a myriad' as an adjective, and provide this sentence as an example.

    I'm not convinced, but I echo Dretagoto's "Perhaps someone knows better, though?"
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Both the noun and the adjectival use are possible.
    However, in a myriad <plural noun> (e.g. a myriad houses/a myriad difficulties) we are not dealing with an adjective but a number (as in a million homes). You cannot say a <adj> plural noun.
    The adjectival use would be I saw myriad golden daffodils.

    Normally we see a myriad of difficulties (where clearly it is a noun meaning large number).

    I note that the noun meaning goes back further in English than the adjectival meaning.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    However, in a myriad <plural noun> (e.g. a myriad houses/a myriad difficulties) we are not dealing with an adjective but a number (as in a million homes). You cannot say a <adj> plural noun.
    But if "million" is a specific number, we know that "a million" is "1 000 000" (not 2 000 000, etc). What would "a myriad" be? ...
     

    Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    Myriad is countless, it just means very many (there is an archaic military meaning of 10,000, but ignore that).
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    As well as 'myriad', they appear to list 'a myriad' as an adjective, and provide this sentence as an example.
    No, they don't consider 'a myriad' an adjective, if you look at other Longman entries, it's just how they probide examples. Maybe they think of it as a special use:confused:
    Myriad is countless, it just means very many (there is an archaic military meaning of 10,000, but ignore that).
    Maybe "a countless amount" is implied?
     

    Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    No, they don't consider 'a myriad' an adjective, if you look at other Longman entries, it's just how they probide examples. Maybe they think of it as a special use:confused:

    Maybe "a countless amount" is implied?
    Yeah, could be (assuming it's not simply an error in the publication).
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No, they don't consider 'a myriad' an adjective, if you look at other Longman entries, it's just how they probide examples. Maybe they think of it as a special use:confused:
    You may be right, but I saw this, and it looks as if they are giving both 'myriad' and 'a myriad' as adjectives.

    myriad
    myr‧i‧ad1 /ˈmɪriəd/ adjective [usually before noun] written

    very many the myriad causes of homelessness

    a myriad We were plagued by a myriad tiny flies.

    myriad | meaning of myriad in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I would say (based on my experience) you won't find that use in the U.S. So, from my perspective, it's either a typo or it's an odd use that I don't recognize from my experience with AE.

    -- A myriad of tiny flies assaulted us.
    -- Myriad tiny flies assaulted us.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I don't doubt your perspective, but we all learn from others, especially in this forum:)

    While "a myriad of" is really quite common, the use without of is not considered (by the editors involved in the books in the Ngram database, such as Orlando by Vrginia Woolf) ) to be a typo whether in AE or in BE :) although it seems to be undergoing a renaissance in BE.
     
    Last edited:

    Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    But the question of typo or error isn't about "of", it's about "a". "Myriad of" makes it a noun. The question is whether it can be an adjective as "a myriad", rather than just "myriad".
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top