Usage of "myriad"

Toujours

New Member
English/Shona - Zimbabwe
Please could you clarify for me:
"This problem arises in a myriad of different situations"
"This problem arises in myriad different situations"
"This problme arises in a myriad different situations"

Wihch of these (if any!) is correct?

Many thanks!
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    "This problem arises in a myriad of different situations" Correct
    "This problem arises in myriad different situations" Correct (my preference)
    "This problme arises in a myriad different situations" Incorrect
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    "This problem arises in a myriad of different situations" Correct
    "This problem arises in myriad different situations" Correct (my preference)
    "This problme arises in a myriad different situations" Incorrect
    I think the reason the last version is incorrect is because the definition of the noun myriad is "an immense number", and we say "an immense number of different situations" not "an immense number different situations". If an actual figure is given then the "of" is omitted: "in a thousand different situations". But I would also say "in thousands of different situations" - which is very confusing. Can anyone clarify this?
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I would say "This problem arises in myriad different situations" in an effort to write tightly. If you are dealing with an uncountable number of situation, I don't think anybody is going to think they will be identical.
     

    asm

    Senior Member
    Mexico, Spanish
    I was told today that "myriad" should be used the same way as "many"; in such a case, according with what I was told, "a myriad of" is incorrect. Example: Education accounts for a myriad of variables ...was the original sentence, but I was instructed to write: Education accounts for myriad variables... (this person told me that the mistake (a - of) is very common.
    This position contradicts Elwintee and has some support from cyberpedant. Could you help me? I don't care changing the sentence, but I want to know a little better.

    Please could you clarify for me:
    "This problem arises in a myriad of different situations"
    "This problem arises in myriad different situations"
    "This problme arises in a myriad different situations"

    Wihch of these (if any!) is correct?

    Many thanks!
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I was told today that "myriad" should be used the same way as "many"; in such a case, according with what I was told, "a myriad of" is incorrect. Example: Education accounts for a myriad of variables ...was the original sentence, but I was instructed to write: Education accounts for myriad variables... (this person told me that the mistake (a - of) is very common.[...]
    This person is wrong. "... a myriad of ..." is correct.
    Myriad can be either noun or adjective, as bibliolept said.
    The OED fully supports this.
    Here are some examples of myriad (noun).
    1869 ‘M. TWAIN’ Innocents Abroad xxx. 321 Throw a stone into the water, and the myriad of tiny bubbles that are created flash out a brilliant glare like blue theatrical fires. 1940 V. K. ZWORYKIN & G. A. MORTON Television vi. 194 If the noise is appreciable compared with the picture signal, it appears in the reproduction as a myriad of constantly changing bright specks.
    1961
    B. JAMES Night of Kill (1963) ix. 104 The hour which, like a spade turning clods of earth, exposed to the day a myriad of busy creatures that had laid dormant in the quiet night.
    1987
    Observer 20 Sept. 46/4 A myriad of small, specialist software companies have also been spawned in the new ‘sunrise high-tech’ areas.
     

    asm

    Senior Member
    Mexico, Spanish
    Thank you; I thought "a myriad of" was right, at least it is used this way. However, I still need to know if the "other" way is correct


    Is "myriad variables ..." correct? (my question/worry is that I need to make the changes he suggested or at least argue, with information, that I am not changing the phrase I had in the original draft.

    Thank you again

    This person is wrong. "... a myriad of ..." is correct.
    Myriad can be either noun or adjective, as bibliolept said.
    The OED fully supports this.
    Here are some examples of myriad (noun).
    1869 ‘M. TWAIN’ Innocents Abroad xxx. 321 Throw a stone into the water, and the myriad of tiny bubbles that are created flash out a brilliant glare like blue theatrical fires. 1940 V. K. ZWORYKIN & G. A. MORTON Television vi. 194 If the noise is appreciable compared with the picture signal, it appears in the reproduction as a myriad of constantly changing bright specks.
    1961 B. JAMES Night of Kill (1963) ix. 104 The hour which, like a spade turning clods of earth, exposed to the day a myriad of busy creatures that had laid dormant in the quiet night.
    1987 Observer 20 Sept. 46/4 A myriad of small, specialist software companies have also been spawned in the new ‘sunrise high-tech’ areas.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Thank you; I thought "a myriad of" was right, at least it is used this way. However, I still need to know if the "other" way is correct

    Is "myriad variables ..." correct? (my question/worry is that I need to make the changes he suggested or at least argue, with information, that I am not changing the phrase I had in the original draft.

    Thank you again
    It seems to me that either way is correct. You could keep it your way or change it, as you wish.

    Here is a link to the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary that has model sentences for both usages, in case you want to quote an authority.
     

    The Slippery Slide

    Senior Member
    Britain
    One of the reference books on my desk (and now I need it, I can't find the right one) says that myriad was originally a specific figure (from memory, I think it's ten thousand), which is why people used to say "There are myriad reasons". Over the years, as that association has faded, it's passed into a grammatical grey area.

    If I can track down a reference for that, I'll post back.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    One of the reference books on my desk (and now I need it, I can't find the right one) says that myriad was originally a specific figure (from memory, I think it's ten thousand), which is why people used to say "There are myriad reasons". Over the years, as that association has faded, it's passed into a grammatical grey area.

    If I can track down a reference for that, I'll post back.
    Yes, "myriad" is derived from the Greek word for 10,000 and can still mean that. However, I wouldn't count on it being so understood now unless I glossed it. Even the Greeks used their word to mean "numberless, countless" as well.
     
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