If 'Social Media' is uncountable and plural, why do we say 'Social media is...'?



This all began when I saw Grammarly giving me a red line on the verb has. My sentence, as I remember roughly, was...

Social media has all potential to make your products and services popular

The Grammarly tool suggests 'have' and gives me a reason:

The singular verb has does not appear to agree with the plural subject media. Consider changing the verb form for subject-verb agreement.

It gave me surprise because I have, at many places, seen the usage of Social media is... I then explored on OALD which has an entry for this two-word word

social media (uncountable, plural) ~ Social media is a big part of my life

Kindly help me learn.

Maulik V

Posted 2014-10-31T08:58:22.487

Reputation: 66 188


Surely, Grammarly has never read this in Macmillan Dictionary, "can be followed by a singular or plural verb".

– Damkerng T. – 2014-10-31T09:16:49.137



There is no such a thing as a plural non-count noun. If there can be a plural form, it can be counted.

Strictly speaking, media is the plural of medium, just as data is the plural of datum. But with media and data we often use a singular verb. Purists disagree and insist on a plural verb.

Media and data are often used as collective nouns, thus the choice between singular or plural verb form.


Posted 2014-10-31T08:58:22.487



The term “social media” is both singular and plural in modern English usage.

The word “media” is traditionally a plural because “medium” is the singular.

However, in reference to things like the news media, social media, etc, the usage often becomes singular because the nuance (shade of meaning) is taking the whole world of ‘media’ as a single unit.

Many of the modern stylebooks and dictionaries have “news media” and “social media” as both singular and plural in context.

If you belong to the grammar camp, then it’s plural.

If you belong to the usage camp, then it’s both singular and plural depending on context.


Posted 2014-10-31T08:58:22.487

Reputation: 21


There is no denying the fact that almost all the dictionaries describe that social media is an uncountable plural noun, which takes either a singular verb or a plural verb. I think if somebody says otherwise, he is forcing his like or dislike on others. We have to stick to what our authentic books say.


Posted 2014-10-31T08:58:22.487

Reputation: 26 261


The Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries present the term as both uncountable and plural.

Technically, the word "media" is the plural of "medium", so "social media" should be plural. However, I believe that the term "media" (in general, not just in this instance) has evolved and become uncountable when used to describe the conglomerate of communication outlets as its own entity, and not just as the sum of its parts.

So it looks like the answer is: Whatever floats your boat!


Posted 2014-10-31T08:58:22.487

Reputation: 1


Agreed that "media" can be singular or plural (and the plural use seems more and more restricted to grammar purists. The question then is, if it is singular, is it non-count, that is, are "a media," or "medias" impossible forms? Certainly for the simple word "media" the answer is "yes, it is non-count." But what about compound words, which is essentially what "social media" is, even if it is spelled with two words. Compound words can certainly behave differently than the simple forms. I haven't researched a lot, but a little bit of Googling makes me think no, you don't see "social medias" used by the great majority of writiers who are probably native speakers. This is as of early 2019.


Posted 2014-10-31T08:58:22.487

Reputation: 1

Hello, and welcome to the site! It's best if answers are supported by facts, not speculation, and at first it doesn't even seem clear if you're attempting to ask a question, provide an answer, or comment on related usage (which wouldn't directly answer the question). I'm afraid this doesn't seem to add much to the thread unless you [edit] to include some data on relevant claims, and leave the others as a marginal note at best (I don't think the OP's main concern is "media" vs. "medias", for example). – M.A.R. – 2019-01-12T13:08:08.407