Can “mode” be used as “mean” and “median” are?

It’d be normal to hear sentences like these:

The mean ticket price for the concert was $56.50.

The median ticket price for the concert was $61.

But what about:

The mode ticket price for the concert was $40.

Is this an acceptable way to use the word "mode?" I would typically expect to hear, "The mode of ticket prices for the concert was $40," but the former arrangement is nice because it’s more concise.


The question can be restated as “Can mode be used as an adjective?” for which one just needs to look in a dictionary.

OED lists mode as a noun and a verb, but not an adjective.

However, there is an adjective modal, for which OED gives

6. a. Statistics. Of, relating to, or of the nature of a mode; (of a value, etc.) that occurs most frequently in a particular sample or population. Cf. mode n. 13.

and there is a citation which exactly mirrors your example, although it appears the BBC thought it necessary to explain the word:

1968 Listener 25 July 101/1 The administrators we saw..had averaged only 2·8 years in all their completed jobs in the class; in fact, the modal (most frequently occurring) period in completed jobs was two years.

Source : Link , Question Author : duozmo , Answer Author : Andrew Leach

Leave a Comment