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“Criteria” versus “criterion”

Criteria is a word which defines collective recommendations for any entity.

I was drafting an email to my client where I wanted to say "are these criteria same which are defined in the previous email?" and it clicked.

Will it be:

Are these criteria same which IS defined?


Are these criteria same which ARE defined?

because to my understanding, I am referring to the word 'criteria' which sounds singular?

Also, how can I miss 'Criterion'? What would be correct usage?

PS: I have sent email which says "are these criteria same which ARE defined in the previous email".

I like to keep my grammar refined whilst communicating with someone. Please advice.

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marked as duplicate by jwpat7, David Wallace, Cameron, Jim, JSBձոգչ Aug 16 '12 at 13:34

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Where to start... Try: "Are these the same criteria that were defined in the previous email." or "Are these criteria the same as those defined in the previous email." – Jim Aug 16 '12 at 6:30
It's always plural. The singular is "criterion". But there is more amiss in your sentence. Refer to Jim's two excellent suggestions above. – user16269 Aug 16 '12 at 6:35
Thanks @Jim I figured the workaround for this but, my question is about using the word 'are' or 'is'.. suppose, I am speaking in a flow where I cannot go back and correct? – Karma Aug 16 '12 at 6:36
@jwpat7 Not at all, mate. Not at all. – Karma Aug 16 '12 at 6:36
If you can't go back and correct you are stuck with what you wrote. Did you notice that both my suggestions used 'Are'? – Jim Aug 16 '12 at 6:39
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Criteria is plural. Criterion is its singular. As answers to this question note, it is apparently becoming acceptable to use the word criteria as both the singular as well as the plural form. But, it is unlikely that anybody here is going to recommend that you do so.

You would ask,

Are these criteria the same as those defined in the previous e-mail?

If you are asking about a singular criterion,

Is this criterion the same as the one defined in the previous e-mail?

FYI, "a word which defines collective recommendations for any entity" is not the definition of criterion.

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The use of criteria as a singular is usually when the word is being used loosely, especially in connection with an unknown number of other criteria. Criteria can also be refered to in singular form when talking about the multiple criteria as a pool. – Chris Aug 16 '12 at 6:56
And the answer to the criteria question may be "Some are, and some are not." – bib Aug 16 '12 at 13:07

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