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media, medium

Originally, medium was the singular and media the plural. (Note that medias as a plural is incorrect.)

  • The Internet is an effective medium for expressing personal opinions.
  • The story was given prominent coverage in the news media.

However, usage is evolving. While we still use the Latin plural media in expressions like news media or mass media, it has become acceptable to use mediums as a plural in other contexts.

  • This artist experiments with many media (or mediums), including oils, acrylics, sound sculptures and video, but clay remains her favourite medium.
  • Today, we have several mediums of communication at our disposal.

In the case of clairvoyants and clothing sizes, the only possible plural form is mediums.

  • Madame Irena was only one of the mediums consulted by the police.
  • This customer is looking for a yellow sweatshirt: have we got any more mediums?

Verb agreement with media

When used in reference to the news media, the term media has become a collective noun in English and can take either a singular or a plural verb.

If the writer is thinking of the media as a unit, a singular verb is used.

  • The mass media is sometimes guilty of bias in the way it reports the news.

If the writer is thinking of the media as a collection of individual mediums, a plural verb is used.

  • The media have been very aggressive in their coverage of the Prime Minister.

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