Regarding “Myriad”

Until about 10 seconds ago, I thought I knew all there was to know about myriad. I thought the word was an adjective and not a noun, and that people who said, “There are a myriad of reasons why I won’t go to the festival,” were plain wrong in their usage. It turns out that their usage was correct, but they just weren’t being concise, which is a much less serious crime. (Many thanks to Webster’s and MAU for setting me straight.)

That said, the noun form and adjectival form are interchangeable, and conciseness will always recommend that you use the latter.

GO LONG: There are probably a myriad of words that Craig doesn’t know.
GO SHORT: There are probably myriad words that Craig doesn’t know.

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Comments
6 Responses to “Regarding “Myriad””
  1. Pat says:

    I always thought myriad-as-adjective-only people were elitist in the same way as no-prepositions-at-the-end-of-sentence people and no-split-infinitive people. In other words, I thought that over time “myriad” had become accepted as a noun simply by common usage. Done any research on that?

    • cbgaines says:

      Can’t say I’ve done any research. But like I say in the post, conciseness automatically recommends using “myriad” as an adjective. I have no problem with putting a preposition at the end of a sentence if it makes the sentence clearer, which it often does. But there’s no argument for using “myriad” as a noun. The alternative is better in every circumstance.

  2. Pat says:

    Also:

    GO LONG: There are probably a myriad of words that Craig doesn’t know.
    GO SHORT: There are probably myriad words that Craig doesn’t know.
    GO SHORTER: There are probably myriad words Craig doesn’t know.
    GO TOTALLY DIFFERENT MEANING: There are probably myriad words; Craig doesn’t know.

  3. cbgaines says:

    You know, I should probably mention that there are simpler words than “myriad” that almost always work just as well. Such as, you know, “many.”

  4. Pat says:

    Also shorter than myriad, in syllables not letters: buttload.

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