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When the word "means" is used as follows: the means to an end, is it singular or plural?
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If you are talking about just one way or method of achieving something, then you should use the singular form of the verb.

The American Heritage Dictionary has a good usage note about the word "means":
Usage Note: In the sense of "financial resources" means takes a plural verb: His means are more than adequate. In the sense of "a way to an end," means may be treated as either a singular or plural. It is singular when referring to a particular strategy or method: The best means of securing the cooperation of the builders is to appeal to their self-interest. It is plural when it refers to a group of strategies or methods: The most effective means for dealing with the drug problem have generally been those suggested by the affected communities. · Means is most often followed by of: a means of noise reduction. But for, to, and toward are also used: a means for transmitting sound; a means to an end; a means toward achieving equality.
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AnonymousWhen the word "means" is used as follows: the means to an end, is it singular or plural?

It could be either, but in most cases I've seen, it was singular. a means to an end is frequently seen, for example.

CJ
singular
YankeeIf you are talking about just one way or method of achieving something, then you should use the singular form of the verb.
Singular form of the VERB?! C'mon, we're talking about singular or plural of a "NOUN", not a verb. You must be a real grammar expert! Lol
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AnonymousSingular form of the VERB?! C'mon, we're talking about singular or plural of a "NOUN", not a verb.
In the sense of "financial resources" means takes a plural verb: His means are more than adequate. In the sense of "a way to an end," means may be treated as either a singular or plural.(AHD).It is therefore fine to talk of the singular or plural verb being used with 'means'.
Anonymous You must be a real grammar expert! Lol
Let's try to keep the discussion civilised, please.
Excuse my ignorance, but I cannot find this answer anywhere: is it wrong to say "the mean of payment"?

Thanks in advance.
Anonymousis it wrong to say "the mean of payment"?
It is. You need "means".

CJ
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One wonders to whom this reply should be directed. One question in that thread had to do with whether to use a singular or a plural verb with "means." Yes, verbs have singular and plural forms. Perhaps you describe them differently, but "Yankee" was correct in that nomenclature and in that response: If the noun means refers to one way of achieving a goal, the writer would choose a singular verb. If there are several means to an end, s/he might choose the plural form of the verb. (Ex:The means of reaching her goal [was, if referring to one way; were, if if referring to more than one way] justified.)
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