The noun "media"

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Tvita

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Why is there no "s" - ending for the verb "portray" in the following sentence?Does it mean that the noun media is plural? If so does the 'media' always plural and we should write for example "media are" instead of "media is"?

When it is time to cast our votes, we will make our decision based on how the media portray the candidates.
 

Wuisi

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Hi,
I think it is plural, (from Latin medium, plural media or mediums), at least, dictionaries say so. (not a teacher and just on my way to becoming proficient).
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Wuisi

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Hi,
I wouldn't say 'always', since it is often used with singular concord, but 'USUALLY' or 'normally'. Threre still seem to be native speakers who will consider there is something weird with 'The media says...'. However, I'm not a native speaker so let's hope one of them joins in and clears things up. (If I were in your shoes I'd stick to 'plural' media and 'singular' medium).
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susiedqq

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Media is a collective noun - it describes ALL the possible coverages - TV, magazines, reporters, photographers, journalists, etc.


The media is reporting on the election.

What media will be present at the conference?
 

susiedqq

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It uses either:

on how (they) portray . . .

on how (it) portrays . . .
 

Tvita

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So if I understood you correctly I can replace media by either 'they' or 'it'. Can I in this case write for example: media are....
 

susiedqq

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Oh heck, why not just use it as an adjective?

media business

media industry

media trends
 

Tvita

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I am just trying to get answer for this particular case... of course there are a lot of different ways which help to avoid it...

I am interested in English pitfalls like this :)
 

mykwyner

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The word media is in transition right now. Technically, it is the plural of medium, but it is being used more and more as a collective singular. Many editors and style books insist that it always be used as a plural, but many others say to use your own judgment and choose the verb that "sounds" the best. Other Latin nouns have made this transition from plural to singular. Opera was once the plural of opus and candelabra was once the plural of candelabrum, but those singular forms have all but disappeared from English. Data is another Latin word that is currently making the transition from plural to collective (singular) noun.
 
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RedMtl

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The word media is in transition right now. Technically, it is the plural of medium, but it is being used more and more as a collective singular. Many editors and style books insist that it always be used as a plural, but many others say to use your own judgment and choose the verb that "sounds" the best. Other Latin nouns have made this transition from plural to singular. Opera was once the plural of opus and candelabra was once the plural of candelabrum, but those singular forms have all but disappeared from English. Data is another Latin word that is currently making the transition from plural to collective (singular) noun.

Tvita --

You are correct to ask about this.

While the above data are useful to know, you should note that non-American English still very much does use words such as "media" in the plural. While some words are shifting, slowly, toward becoming collective singular nouns, this movement seems to be strongest in the USA. Certainly in Canada (and I'm in French Canada, on top of that!), "data" and "media" are considered plurals. And, frankly, I've never encountered "candelabra" to mean anything but the plural.

Another example, from the local newspaper just this week, referred (correctly) to "Olympic stadia of the world." So, Latin singulars and plurals are still very strongly used in many places where a variation of English is the mother tongue.

The best advice I can give is to suggest that you explore the language development of the country in question, to see which usage is customary, and adjust your translation accordingly.

Remembering the quotation: "The medium is the message" by Marshall McLuhan might help you to remember the singular and plural of this particular word.

In the case of your specific question, about there being no "s" on "portray," note that the usage was correct. "The media portray" is a correct plural structure.

You may also want to consider that if you were to take only one aspect of "media" you'd rapidly see that the word is plural. Radio is a medium. A correct sentence for that would be: "The medium of radio . . .." To say, "the media of radio" quite frankly sounds odd and incorrect.

Thank you for posting an interesting question.
 
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