means


means
means
1. When the meaning is ‘financial resources’, means is treated as plural: Their means are somewhat limited. When the meaning is ‘a way or method’ it can operate as a singular noun (when preceded by a determiner such as a, any, or every) or as a plural noun (when preceded by a plural-marking word such as all, many, several, etc.):

• Several means are available for indexing numbers not obtainable with standard plain indexing —L. E. Doyle et al., 1961

• They remained for her a means, and not an end, a bargaining power rather than a blessing —Margaret Drabble, 1967

• Derek and I drove down there and shut off the whole barn, preventing all means of getting in or out —J. Hadwick, 1991

• In those days gondolas were cheap and a perfectly normal means of transport —Mail on Sunday, 2001.

When means is preceded by the, the following verb can be either singular or plural, depending on the sense intended and the grammatical context:

• Moreover, the means by which this end is achieved are remarkable —Michael Foot, 1986

When I first travelled to England in 1960, the normal means was by boat —Daily Telegraph, 2003.

2. The dual role of means in the ‘way, method’ sense is a survival or folk memory of an earlier time, when both the singular mean and the plural means were used. The singular use has dropped out, but the construction, attached to the plural, has survived.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • means — W2S2 [mi:nz] n plural means ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(method)¦ 2¦(money)¦ 3 by all means! 4 by no means/not by any means 5 by means of something 6 a means to an end 7 the means of production ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1.) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • means — [ minz ] (plural means) noun *** 1. ) count a method for doing or achieving something: WAY: Information is not easily obtained by any other means. an effective means for finding qualified job applicants means of: What means of transportation is… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • means — [miːnz] noun [plural] the money and resources that a person or organization has available: means to do something • Large corporations have the means to pay large fines without suffering hardship. • The group has limited means. • young families… …   Financial and business terms

  • means — [mēnz] pl.n. 〚/span> MEAN3, n.〛 1. [with sing. or pl. v.] that by which something is done or obtained; agency [the fastest means of travel] 2. resources or available wealth; often, specif., great wealth; riches [a person of …   Universalium

  • means — n pl but sing or pl in constr 1 a: something enabling one to achieve a desired end a means of self defense b: cause (1) 2: resources (as income and assets) at one s disposal Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of La …   Law dictionary

  • means — ► PLURAL NOUN (also treated as sing. ) 1) an agent or method for achieving a result. 2) financial resources; income. 3) substantial resources; wealth. ● by all means Cf. ↑by all means ● by means of Cf. ↑ …   English terms dictionary

  • means — [mēnz] pl.n. [< MEAN3, n.] 1. [with sing. or pl. v.] that by which something is done or obtained; agency [the fastest means of travel] 2. resources or available wealth; often, specif., great wealth; riches [a person of means] by all means 1 …   English World dictionary

  • Means — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: John Hugh Means (1812–1862), US amerikanischer Politiker Larry Means (* 1947), US amerikanischer Politiker Natrone Means (* 1972), US amerikanischer Footballspieler Rice W. Means (1877–1949), US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Méans — Administration Nom italien Meana di Susa Nom piémontais Méans Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Means — may refer to: Means (surname) Definitions Mean (average), a term used in mathematics and statistics Means (ethics), something of instrumental value in order to achieve an end Means (law), an aspect of a crime needed to convince a jury of guilt in …   Wikipedia