Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Oct 26 2012   3:03PM GMT

“myriad” or “a myriad of”?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

 

Which is correct?
Phablets are among ________ new gadgets introduced in the last few years.
a. myriad
b. a myriad of


Answer: Either.

 

Explanation:
“Myriad” originally comes from a Greek word for the number 10,000. Because we would say “I’ve got 10,000 problems” rather than “I’ve got 10,000 of problems,” there are some grammar or Greek purists who object to “myriad of.” The same people disapprove of “a myriad” or “the myriad,” for similar reasons.

However, we use “myriad” to refer to a large and usually non-specific number — like “plethora” or “abundance” — these days, so it’s completely acceptable to use myriad prefaced by “a” or “the” and/or followed by “of” as those words would be.

It really comes down to whether you’re using “myriad” as a noun or an adjective. If it’s an adjective, then you would say “myriad gadgets.” If it’s a noun, you would say “a myriad of gadgets.” That means you can use it either way and no one will be able to tell you you’re wrong.

The Mavens’ Word of the Day covers “myriad.”

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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