or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, March 31, 2008

Ones and Twos

Here's the opening paragraph from a reprinted Slate.com story about April Fool's pranks:

You don't look gullible, but you are. Year after year, the media take advantage of your naiveté and humiliates you with an April Fools' Day prank.

Well, which is it to be? Is the word "media" plural, taking the plural verb "take", or is it singular, taking the singular verb "humiliates"?

I think it's plural, of course, but more and more people are treating "media" as if it were a singular noun, as they have already done with "data" (despite the fact that we already have singular forms of both those words, "medium" and "datum", respectively).

Fine. Whatever. I don't run the world. I can't stop the English language from changing in that way, though I can grouse about it. But a writer needs to make a decision one way or the other, and a copy editor of some sort--there is an copy editor of some sort, isn't there?--needs to make sure that the usage is at least consistent. Otherwise you end up with sentences like that.


Post a Comment

<< Home