Macquarie Dictionary Blog: Archives
Is it 'myriad' insects or 'a myriad of' insects?
Sep 04, 2015
The use of myriad is often debated. Myriad was actually used as a noun in English long before it was used as an adjective, and today it's considered both a noun and an adjective which means it can be used with an 'a' before it (as a noun) or without an 'a' before it (as an adjective). Some argue that myriad should never be used with ‘of’ as it should only be used as an adjective. This is incorrect but you will probably come across some resistance from those who believe this to be the case.
Myriad insects surrounded the swamp. (adjective)
A myriad of insects surrounded the swamp. (noun)
Both examples are correct.
We are looking at adding a usage note to the online entry to cover the attitude towards the noun use.
Want some help with other common confusables? Check out our other comparison blogs
- aitch versus haitch
- can not versus cannot
- compliment versus complement
- dependent versus dependant
- dispatch versus despatch
- effect versus affect
- far-fetched versus far-flung
- hijack versus highjack
- hunker down versus bunker down
- jail versus gaol
- just deserts versus just desserts
- licence versus license
- myriad versus myriad of
- practice versus practise
- program versus programme
- skol versus scull
- sneaked versus snuck
- while versus whilst
(Image courtesy of Flickr: Steve Jurvetson)
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