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Which is correct?

  1. There is no means to listen what he is saying.
  2. There are no means to listen what he is saying.
2
  • 3
    A better construction might be "...no means of listening to..."
    – Jimi Oke
    Jan 27, 2011 at 22:29
  • 1
    also: by all means
    – asymmetric
    Jan 27, 2011 at 23:30

2 Answers 2

8

According to Oxford Dictionaries it can be "treated as singular or plural".

Personally, I find the plural form more natural in your example. Also note that you need another "to": There are no means to listen to what he is saying.

4
  • and what about a different meaning and context "One thing is a purpose and the other thing is a means to achieve that purpose"? Can I use only singular, or only plural (".. the other thing are means to achieve..."), or both?
    – Tomas
    Jan 6, 2014 at 22:47
  • @user1951, Is "mean" an acceptable singular for "means"?
    – Pacerier
    Sep 19, 2015 at 9:21
  • @Pacerier No - see plurale tantum and the definition of means.
    – Lawrence
    May 21, 2016 at 14:44
  • ODO, and better CED and Collins, break down how 'can be "treated as singular or plural" ' applies to different usages. Jul 30, 2019 at 15:54
1

Singular or plural can be used: use as a singular, e.g. "cars are a means of transportation", or as a plural when talking about wealth e.g. "His means are plenty" (that is, he has many ways of getting money).

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  • 2
    Welcome to English Language and Usage. Can you please fix some typos and try to include some references in your answer such as a dictionary link? You mean "plenty", not "flenty", right?
    – user140086
    May 21, 2016 at 13:56

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