The noun "means" is quite different from the adjective, "mean," or the verb "mean." As a noun, "means" is very similar to income or method. This word always has an "s." There is no singular form for it.

The sentences below use "means" to describe the way in which a person makes money:

  • They now have the means necessary to take a lot of vacations.
  • Rob no longer has the means required to maintain his lifestyle.
  • It’s a good idea to try to live within your means.
  • If you don’t live within your means, you might find yourself in financial trouble.
  • People who lack* the means for taking care of themselves can get help from the government.

You can also use "means" when describing a method for transportation or as a way of getting something done:


  • Most people in the United States rely on a car as their means of transportation.
  • Rudy’s car is his only means for getting to work.
  • In big cities, public transit is a reliable means of transportation.
  • Carla defended herself for lying on her resume saying that she needed to get a job by any means necessary.
  • Do the ends justify the means? (Is it okay to behave badly if the result is good?)

* lack: to not have something

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September 23, 2014