Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
agenda, agendum, Business writing, CIO, commonly misused words, criteria / criterion, grammar, pluralization, Quiz, spam
Which is correct?
One important ________ for security assurance is documentation of application security measures in development.
Criterion is singular; criteria is plural. However, Merriam-Webster notes that usage doesn’t always comply. And we know what happens when that situation hits the tipping point — when’s the last time you heard someone mention an agendum?
Here’s the entry:
Pronunciation: \krī-ˈtir-ē-ən also krə-\
Inflected Form(s): plural -ria \-ē-ə\ also cri·te·ri·ons
Etymology: Greek kritērion, from krinein to judge, decide
1 : a standard on which a judgment or decision may be based
2 : a characterizing mark or trait
synonyms: see standard
usage The plural criteria has been used as a singular for over half a century . Many of our examples, like the two foregoing, are taken from speech. But singular criteria is not uncommon in edited prose, and its use both in speech and writing seems to be increasing. Only time will tell whether it will reach the unquestioned acceptability of agenda.
Follow us on Twitter @tao_of_grammar