The Grammar Cop goes on a medium-sized rant.
Just for today, friends, we will change the format here at Friday Follies. First, this quote from whatever run-of-the-mill news source:
“Social media was filled with parodies – a video of young men on the street shaking their shoes with one another, to avoid shaking hands, and a barber cutting the hair of a customer, who…”
Can you see what’s wrong in that pile o’ prose? If not, please stay after school for your lesson.
Okay, it’s after school now! 😃
- MEDIA is PLURAL. The quoted sentence should say Social media were filled with parodies… Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are social media.
- MEDIUM is SINGULAR. Which medium do you prefer – charcoal or pastels?
Here’s an explanation, from https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/24/media/ (Washington State University):
There are several words with Latin or Greek roots whose plural forms ending in A are constantly mistaken for singular ones. See, for instance, “criteria,” “phenomena,” and “data.” Radio is a broadcast medium. Television is another broadcast medium. Newspapers are a print medium. Together they are media.
Following the tendency of Americans to abbreviate phrases, with “transistor radio” becoming “transistor,” (now fortunately obsolete) and “videotape” becoming “video,” “news media” and “communications media” have been abbreviated to “media.”
Remember that watercolor on paper and oil on black velvet are also media, though they have nothing to do with the news. When you want to get a message from your late Uncle Fred, you may consult a medium. The word means a vehicle between some source of information and the recipient of it. The “media” are the transmitters of the news; they are not the news itself.
Not too painful, was it? Er… was it? 😃