Plural and singular
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED By FADZILAH AMIN
Fadzilah Amin answers a reader’s question about media and audience.
WMediais/are: You can use either “media is” or “media are” depending on what meaning of “media” you use.
“Media” is now most commonly regarded as a collectivenoun, meaning newspapers, radio, television and other means of mass communication. As a collective noun, it can take either a singular or a plural verb.
However, “media” is also used as the plural of “medium” (its original meaning). Used in this sense, it is a plural noun and takes a plural verb. For example, the language used for teaching in a school or university is called “the medium of instruction”. If more than one language is used, the languages are referred to as “the media of instruction” as can be seen in the following sentence in a job advertisement for the Hong Kong Baptist University:
“The media of instruction are English and Cantonese/Putonghua.”
Audience/audiences: The commonest meaning of “audience” is a group of people assembled in one place to watch and/or listen to a play, film, concert, speech, etc. In this sense, “audience” is both a collective noun and a singular countable noun. As a collective noun, it can take either a singular or a plural verb, e.g. “The audience was/were clearly delighted with the performance.” (online Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary).
As a singularcountablenoun, it can be used with the indefinite article “ a” and has a plural form, “ audiences”. Here are some examples of its use:
“The debate was televised in front of a live audience.” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)
“She lectures to audiences all over the world.” ( online Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary)
I looked at more dictionaries, British and American, and all of them say “in accordance with”, but I was puzzled, because “in accordance to” is used in some respectable British sites. So I turned to what has been described as “the grandfather of the Oxford dictionaries” which is simply called the Oxford English Dictionary or OED, to see what it has to say. This is its second definition of “accordance”:
“ b. esp. in the modern phrase, inaccordancewith (rarely to): in agreement or harmony with; in conformity to.”
So, “in accordance to” is acknowledged as a rare occurrence, but it is acknowledged nevertheless, with “in accordance with” being by far the commoner form. I don’t think the two prepositions are used after the word “accordance” hich is correct: “media is” or “media are”; and “audience” or “audiences”? – YapSingYeong What is the correct preposition to use with the word “accordance”? Both the Cambridge and Oxford online dictionaries use “with”, while I found “to” being used in these examples:
1. “Opposition Leader said the opposition supported the amendments because they were in accordance to the constitutional requirements.” ( theSun, Oct 1, 2010)
2. “ We have made the transfer in accordance to your request” (a letter from a bank). – PaulChan
To or with
for different purposes.
Below are some examples of the use of “in accordance to” in British sites on the Internet:
“You are required to adhere and comply to the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work Act, related Regulations and in accordance to the University’s Policy on Health and Safety...” (Leeds University Maths Dept job advertisement)
“But if you start from the top and work your way down, it makes perfect sense: everything was done in accordance to plan.” (telegraph.co.uk, Oct 7, 2010)
This Agreement shall be subject to and interpreted in accordance to the laws of England and Wales and the parties shall submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. (guardian.co.uk Aug 10, 2004)
It’s getting weirder
1. Is there such a word as “weirder”? Some people say the correct term is “more weird”.
2. Is there a difference between “has been” and “had been”? eg. He has/had been a good man. – LJ
1. Yes, there is. “Weirder” is the comparative form of the adjective “weird”. There is even “weirdest”, the superlative form. Look up the following online dictionary, type “weird” in the search box, and when it comes up, click on the box marked “Word Forms”: www.macmillandictionary.com
“Weird” is a one-syllable adjective, and such adjectives usually have “-er” and “-est” endings for their comparative and superlative forms.
2. Yes, “ hasbeen” is a presentperfect verb and “ hadbeen” is a pastperfect verb. When you say “He hasbeen a good man.”, you mean that he was a good man and still is at the present time. When you say “He hadbeen a good man.” the statement is not complete unless you mention a time in the more recent past when he stopped being a good man, e.g. “He hadbeen a good man until he lost his job. Now he snatches handbags for a living.” The verb expressing what happened in the more recent past, i.e. “ lost” is in the simple past tense.
Refusal to comply
We say “Mum asked him to apologise, but he refused.”
But we say “Mum asked him to apologise, but he didn’t want to.”
Here are some sentences from the Internet with a similar structure to your first one:
“A party member asked him to apologise, but Cashman refused.” (New Statesman, Sept 15, 2003)
“In Derekoy, BTC asked villagers to sign, but they refused.” (from a British parliamentary publication)
Do we say, “Mum asked him to apologise, but he refused.” or “Mum asked him to apologise, but he refused to.”? – Ahmad Write to: Mind Our English, The Star, Level 3A, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Fax: 03-7955 4039 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.thestar.com.my/ english