Do you list the criteria or criterion? This is a trick question because criteria and criterion are the same thing. The difference is not in the definition but in whether you are using the singular or plural form. Discover the meaning, origin and usage of criteria and criterion.
Criteria vs. Criterion: Comparing Plural and Singular Forms
The Main Difference: Singular vs. Plural
Criteria and criterion both mean “the standard(s) by which something is judged or determined.”
Criterion is singular and refers to only one thing.
Criteria is plural and applies to two or more things.
How to Use Criterion in a Sentence
Criterion is a singular noun that means "a standard or requirement for something."
The main criterion for the job is a strong work ethic.
The primary criterion for acceptance is a high SAT score.
The additional criterion made the rules more clear.
Meaning and Usage of Criteria
Criteria is the plural form of criterion and refers to "the requirements or points something is judged by."
The judges asked for the list of criteria.
The criteria for admission to the university includes high test scores, a strong GPA and an outstanding essay.
The applicant met all the criteria for the job.
Origins and Etymology of Criterion and Criteria
The terms criterion and criteria were first documented in English in the 17th century, but they have been around for much longer. Both criterion and criteria come from the Greek word kriterion, which means “standards for judging.” This is derived from another Greek word krites, which means “judge.” The suffix -a is a neuter plural ending in Greek and Latin that has made its way into the English language.
How to Remember the Difference
The singular form criterion has an “o.” “One” also begins with “o,” so you use this association to remember that criterion refers to only one thing. In contrast, criteria ends in an “a.” Think of “a” as standing for “all” or “additional” since criteria means more than one requirement or standard.