Today’s post is also about two such words that often create confusion among writers and speakers. As you know that English language is full of confusing words so, you have to be very careful with word choice. Today’s case is criteria vs. criterion. What could be the difference between them?
Let us explore these words. I will provide definition and use each of these words in example sentences to show you their functions within sentences.
Criteria vs. Criterion – What is the Difference, Definition & Meaning?
Is it criteria or criterion?
From the above two words, criterion is perhaps not a commonly used word. However, the word ‘criteria’ is a commonly used word. As a writer or a speaker, you use criteria more often than criterion. Let me first define the word ‘criteria’ then, I will reveal a truth behind criteria vs. criterion.
‘Criteria’ is used as a noun or a word within a sentence. It is used to refer to a basis or a principle through which one can evaluate or test something. It is synonymous with standard, measure, or a scale.
1. You should meet the following criteria otherwise; you will not be selected for the sports competition.
What about Criterion?
Criterion has the same definition as of criteria. The fact is that criterion is the singular form of criteria.
1. We surely need a valid criterion for this course.
It means that the word ‘criteria’ is a plural noun.
Criteria = Plural Noun
Criterion = Singular Noun
Most of the people do not use criterion as a singular noun; instead, they use ‘criteria’ in the plural as well as in singular contexts.
1. As a renowned organization, you should clear up this specific criteria. (Incorrect)
• As a renowned organization, you should clear up this specific criterion. (correct)
2. As a renowned organization, you should clear up these criteria. (Correct)
• As renowned organization, you should clear up these criterion. (Incorrect)
Some Outside Examples
1. Our criteria for deciding what’s good and what’s bad is very fickle, especially in this country. (Roberta Flack)
2. A major criterion for judging the anxiety level of any society is the loss of its capacity to be playful. (Edwin H. Friedman)
It is concluded that most of the people use ‘criteria’ as a singular as well as a plural noun. If you want your writing to be error-free then, make sure that ‘criteria’ is a plural noun form of the word ‘criterion’.
If you want to refer to a single basis or a principle through which one can evaluate or test something then, you should choose the word ‘criterion’. However, if you want to refer to more than one criterion then, you can easily choose ‘criteria’ as a plural noun.