I hope I've used the right terms in the title; I'm not a native speaker.

The singular of media is of course medium. So when talking about one medium's content, the genitive s and apostrophe are easy enough to use.

Late edit for clarification: I mean media as in recording media. A CD, a cassette, a book are all media. The correct singular, I guess, is medium, although media seems to have become acceptable as well.

How about three media? The three medias' content? The media's content? I guess I could use the latin genitive, but that would probably be wrong and make me sound like a smartass.

Or even Media'?

Or just cop out and say mediums'? That doesn't sound better to my ear, and I'm also talking about information containers,not seers.

  • Why would there be a difference between singular possessive and plural? can't you reverse the sentence if you do not like media's? The content on the three media.. – mplungjan Jan 14 '13 at 9:50
  • @mplungjan Thanks for the pragmatic suggestion of reversing the sentence. Why wouldn't there be a difference? Possessive is different for all ordinary english words in singular vs. plural, isn't it? It's not that I don't like "media's", it's just that I'm not sure it's correct. Other plural possessives have the (plural) s before the apostrophe. – fzwo Jan 14 '13 at 9:54
  • Ok, I thought the rules were clear meredith.edu/grammar/plural.htm#apostrophe – mplungjan Jan 14 '13 at 9:57
  • Do you have any authentic example where there is a need for such a form, or are you putting this as a hypothetical question? I cannot myself think of any instance where it would be required, and, if it was, then there would be some more satisfactory way of dealing with it. – Barrie England Jan 14 '13 at 10:00
  • @BarrieEngland If tape and disk are two recording media, we have the two medias' properties and applications different. (Of course, we don't usually say 'recording medias', but when the possessive kicks in, we need it this way.) – Kris Jan 14 '13 at 11:47

I would think

The media's content

due to this explanation:

For plural nouns ending in "s," add only an apostrophe:

Singers' voices
The cousins' favorite uncle

For plural nouns not ending in "s," add an apostrophe and "s."

Men's clothing
Children's books

That said, the simpler and perhaps easier to understand would be to reverse the sentence and use the content of the media ...

The NGRAM viewer could not find any medias' content, only media's content

However studying Kris' answer, I had to consider

Indigenous peoples' ability to contact their government has been diminished


Where the plural form of a word does not simply add -s or -es, like child/children, the plural form gets ’s just the same as the singular does. All the following are plural:

The children’s toys
The sheep’s wool
The media’s content

However, that’s an unusual way of talking about what the media distribute.

  • Thank you for your answer. As I am not a native speaker, maybe I didn't make myself clear. I was not talking about the media as in news outlets, I was talking about media as in CDs, cassettes, books, etc.. Was I maybe using the wrong word, or is there a better one? – fzwo Jan 14 '13 at 10:07
  • @fzwo: Ah, many people use "media" to mean "CDs, cassettes, books, etc." as well as news outlets. What you meant wasn't clear to me. Now that you've cleared it up, I have to agree with everyone else that "the media's content" is a bit strange. Sometimes it's necessary to use a different form. In this case, "The content of these media..." is much better. – user21497 Jan 14 '13 at 10:33

"The singular of media is of course medium." -- Wait, of course, not necessarily. It could as well be media.

Yes, The media's content is correct,

as much as The mediums' content,

depending on what the word means in the context. ("content" may restrict the applicable meanings, which is a different issue).

However, we are dealing here with the word media as a singular and not the plural of medium.

As such, the natural choice would be media's content for one unit and medias' content for several.

medias plural of me·di·a (Noun)
The main means of mass communication regarded collectively: "the campaign won media attention".
An intermediate layer, esp. in the wall of a blood vessel.

  • I did not vote you down... – mplungjan Jan 14 '13 at 12:35
  • I didn't either, but I still think "medias" is wrong, and "media" for the singular is also not good style. Then again, as I said, I'm no native speaker, so I won't downvote on my gut feeling. – fzwo Jan 14 '13 at 14:30
  • (Tweet) "New word heard at #Digconf11 "medias", plural of media. Latin ancestors please don't follow this hash tag" twitter.com/matteoberlucchi/statuses/57089444058116096 – Kris Jan 14 '13 at 15:05

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