| Grammarist

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| Usage

As a noun referring to a method, a course of action, or a way in which something is accomplished, means can be either singular or plural. When a means is a single practice, it’s singular—for example, “The best means of keeping teeth clean is to brush twice daily.” When means denotes multiple practices, it’s plural—for example, “Some means of finding jobs are more effective than others.”

But when means‘s definition is financial resources, it is always plural—for example “His means give him great luxury.”



The means is evident: to diminish the quantity of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from fuel combustion. [Asia News]

The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory. [Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinksy]


Not all means are valid in defence of the private interests of a very small minority … [letter to Financial Times]

The political motivations and desired ends are much different, but the means are precisely the same: spectacle, provocation, brutish and simple acts in response to complex issues. [New Yorker]


At the end of the day, this election isn’t going to be decided by how rich you are or what your financial means are. [transcribed in Boston Globe]

His means are relatively modest; his net worth is estimated in official disclosures between US$770,000 (S$961,961) and US$1.8 million. [Today Online]

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