Re: IS or ARE

Subject: Re: IS or ARE
From: Dave Meek <meekd -at- WSERVER -dot- DO -dot- LOSRIOS -dot- CC -dot- CA -dot- US>
Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 13:31:12 -0700

At 03:51 PM 5/29/97 -0400, you wrote:
>Guys...quick question.
>Is it:
>Real-time data "is" displayed... or Real-time data "are" displayed....
>I want to say "is", but data is a plural so should I use "are"?
>John Posada

I'm assuming you have a reason for the passive construction of your sentence
and that you can't or won't change it. Given that assumption:

My AHD lists "datum" as the singular form and "data" as the plural.
However, I can't remember ever hearing or reading "datum" except in the
dictionary. My experience is that common usage favors "data is displayed."

If you're a stickler for technical adherence to grammar rules, "data are
displayed" would be your best choice. By that same token, you would have to
choose "Real-time data provide information for making instant decisions"
(which I think sounds awful) over "Real-time data provides information for
making instant decisions." For me, the first one sounds like a British
usage, such as "The staff are happy to serve you."

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