“Myriad” – Is any word more often misused?

This word is, admittedly, a difficult one.

I know what you’re thinking: “There are a myriad of ways to use that word.” If your mind immediately goes to “of” after “myriad,” just stop it, please! That construction, which we hear at every turn, is just plain wrong. I heard it again this afternoon; I hear it almost everyday. A beautiful Greek word that means, literally, ten thousand, has been adopted – and very poorly – by just about every Tom, Nick and Shari. I know my smart friend Sharon Green will support my efforts to get this word used properly at last. So let’s get the facts, and let’s (please!) get “myriad” right.

There are no myriads of anything. The word can be a noun or an adjective, always referring to a great – usually indefinitely great – number of things or persons. I think most people understand that meaning and choose to use the word for the correct purpose. The problem is that they won’t let the little old word just do its thing. Here are some examples:

Wrong: Our association sponsors a myriad of events throughout the year.

Correct: Our association sponsors myriad events throughout the year.

Wrong: The typical millennial has mastered a myriad of social media platforms.

Correct: The typical millennial has mastered myriad social media platforms.

Wrong: I looked up at the myriad of stars in the summer sky.

Correct: I looked up at the myriad stars in the summer sky.

“Myriad,” all by itself, can get the job done. It doesn’t need little old “of” to help it.

Now, Sharon and I just know you’re not going to believe us. So I’m going to send you directly to Dictionary.com to check up on me. And thanks for letting me get that off my chest. What word drives you nuts?