RE: Is Contents Singular or Plural?

Subject: RE: Is Contents Singular or Plural?
From: "Harry Bacheler" <hbacheler -at- geo -dot- census -dot- gov>
To: "Wollenberger, David" <David -dot- Wollenberger -at- sterling -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 16:03:14 -0500

Discussion of "contents are" vs. "contents is"

I went to Merriam Webster: << http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary >>

and found the following:

Main Entry: 4con·tent
Pronunciation: 'kän-"tent
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin contentus, past participle of
continEre to contain
Date: 15th century

1 a : something contained -- usually used in plural
<the jar's contents>
<the drawer's contents>

b : the topics or matter treated in a written work <table of
contents>

2 ... snip ...

I don't think that I can give a better explanation than 1a above. That is,
accepted usage.

A similar discussion could be centered about the word "data".

It violates the 'rule' that the [s] form of the verb is singular (is vs.
are)

Harry M. Bacheler, Jr.
Consultant
VGS, Inc.

"The thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed in my portion of this email
are mine and mine alone. They are not the thoughts, ideas, and/or
opinions of any past, present, or future employers, or any group that
I might belong to."

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-20951 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-20951 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of
> Wollenberger, David
> Sent: Wednesday, 09 February, 2000 01:00 PM
> To: TECHWR-L
> Subject: Is Contents Singular or Plural?
>
> Which is correct and why?
>
> The contents of the table entry area are unpredictable when no match is
> found.
> The contents of the table entry area is unpredictable when no match is
> found.
>
> Thank you,
> David
>
> David Wollenberger
>
> Technical Writer
>
> Sterling Software, Inc. * Information Management Division
> 5900 Canoga Ave * Woodland Hills, CA 91367
> (818) 716-1637, x270 * FAX: (818) 703-8529
>
> david -dot- wollenberger -at- sterling -dot- com
>





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