myriad

< Previous | Next >

rubes1

Senior Member
United States, English
I'm editing an article by a non-native English speaker. He writes, "there was a myriad of groups..."

I believe it should be "there were a myriad of groups."

I would appreciate if you would please confirm or correct me. Thank you.
 
  • ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    I 'd say either "there were myriads of groups" or "there was a myriad of groups".
     

    iolanthe

    Member
    English, UK
    I would treat myriad as a plural/collective noun, but I think I've heard it used as a quantitative adjective, like "there were myriad groups".
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    I'm sure this is pedantic in the extreme but I prefer iolanthe's adjectival construction because it erases any confusion with the literal meaning of 'a myriad' (to mean "ten thousand").
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    Well to tell you the truth I opened my dictionary before answering and got the example "each galaxy contains a myriad of stars". That's why I felt safe to post it (since in my native language "a myriad" is definitelly ten thousand) :eek:
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    You certainly weren't wrong, Ireney. In English 'myriad' has been used to signify a non-specific "countless number" for centuries.

    My real problem with rubes1's example sentence is that 'myriad' is clearly being used to spice up the language and being asked to stand in for 'variety' or simply 'number.'

    I'm guessing the actual number of groups is unlikely to exceed three digits, if that. A long way from a myriad.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top