RE: I suppose this is my most frustrating grammar error

Subject: RE: I suppose this is my most frustrating grammar error
From: Donald -dot- H -dot- White -at- pmusa -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 10:34:40 -0500

Sixty percent of the Usage Panel accepts the use of data with a
singular verb and pronoun in the
sentence Once the data is in, we can begin to analyze it.

'Data is' vs. 'Data are'.

I use what I believe is common sense with this, but I use 'information' to
indicate the singular rather than 'datum.' I don't care what the Microsoft
Manual of Style dictates--MS has no style, to my knowledge. It doesn't
matter that 66% or 77% of people commonly use a construction; 'ain't' is as
commonly used here as is 'y'all' and 'all y'all'--I don't use any of these
in writing, either (other than in fiction whilst building dialog).

Other rants:

'decisioning' -- Since when did this become a verb?
'repurposing' -- Same challenge.
'leverage resources' -- What are we telling someone to do when we write this

Have we come to the point where English does not appear to be 'technical?'
Is it so imprecise that we construct convoluted terms and misuse verbs and
nouns so as to appear more professional?

One thread running on the board concerned the relationship between technical
writers and so-called SMEs. Well, technical writers ARE (supposed to be)
subject matter experts where language and grammar are concerned.

Don White
Technical Writer
dwhite -at- venturipartners -dot- com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rosenschein, Jacob [SMTP:Jacob -dot- Rosenschein -at- gs -dot- com]
> Sent: Friday, March 01, 2002 10:13 AM
> Subject: RE: I suppose this is my most frustrating grammar error
> From the American Heritage Dictionary:
> USAGE NOTE The word data is the plural of Latin datum, "something
> given,"
> but it is not always treated as a plural noun in English. The plural usage
> is still common, as this headline from the New York Times attests: "Data
> Are
> Elusive on the Homeless." Sometimes scientists think of data as plural, as
> in These data do not support the conclusions. But more often scientists
> and
> researchers think of data as a singular mass entity like information, and
> most people now follow this in general usage.

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