Data is/are

Subject: Data is/are
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 13:01:27 -0500

John Posada asked about <<Real-time data is/are displayed>>

John, pick whichever you prefer. Strictly speaking, "data"
is (are? <gdr>) plural, since "datum" is the singular. So
if you're a purist, use "are". However, and this is a
biggie, "data" is increasingly used as verbal shorthand for
"this (one) dataset or collection of data"; the technical
term for this form of shorthand is "ellipsis" = the
omission of something your readers can reliably be assumed
to understand. That explanation justifies the singular use.
So neither is wrong, though the plural meaning is "purer"
than the singular meaning, which is more common.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Turn-key solutions
Next by Author: Canadian Currency
Previous by Thread: Turn-key solutions
Next by Thread: Education in Task Analysis?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads