The plural criteria has been used as a singular for over half a century <let me now return to the third criteria — R. M. Nixon><that really is the criteria — Bert Lance>. Many of our examples, like the two foregoing, are taken from speech. But singular criteria is not uncommon in edited prose, and its use both in speech and writing seems to be increasing. Only time will tell whether it will reach the unquestioned acceptability of agenda.
Examples of CRITERION
What were the criteria used to choose the winner?
<one criterion for grading these essays will be their conformity to the rules of traditional grammar>
There is really only one criterion for a grab bag of culinary facts and anecdotes like this: It has to make you look up occasionally and remark, “Hey! I never knew that.” —Laura Shapiro, New York Times Book Review, 25 Dec. 1994
… the induction committee waived its normal five-year retirement criteria for fear Kelley might never retire. —Todd Balf, Yankee, 4 Apr. 1992
Christo argues that art must be measured by its effect on the shape of a community. By this criterion Running Fence was enormously successful. —O. B. Hardison, Jr., Disappearing Through the Skylight, 1989