One criterion, two or more criteria

A reader noted this headline on the op-ed page on June 12: “‘Authentic’ wrong criteria for candidates.” It appears that if we consider being authentic as one standard for judging a presidential candidate, then the word should have been “criterion,” instead of the plural “criteria.”

“Criterion” and “criteria” are from Greek, as are “phenomenon” and “phenomena.” We retain the singular and plural spellings of many Greek and Latin words in English. Here is a link to some spelling tips featuring some common Latin and Greek words.

“Data” and “media” are generally considered plural, but writers and speakers sometimes choose singular verbs for them.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.