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View Diary: One space after periods, people (852 comments)

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  •  Ditto! (3+ / 0-)

    What my Biology 101 prof said stuck with me, too.  First day of class he read the syllabus and via the written word and in print he gave instructions that if anyone used data as a plural, their essays would be given a failing grade.

    :-)  Nope.  I never erred on data, but then I was a nontraditional student to begin with and I knew data was always singular because I was the primary writer and editor in every office I was employed up to that point..., and I had a couple of well-worn and dog-eared dictionaries by then.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 03:14:31 PM PST

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    •  Then what is "datum"? (5+ / 0-)

      Data is plural.  

      •  then why say, "Data IS plural"? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tofumagoo, Donkey Hotey

        It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

        by Murphoney on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:32:33 PM PST

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        •  Because...when you refer to a word as a word, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Donkey Hotey

          it is singular.  Always.

        •  Data is (a/the) plural. (0+ / 0-)

          No different than "wheels is plural". Because you can't say wheels are plural... the things aren't the plural the word is.

          But seriously:

          http://www.merriam-webster.com/...

          Data leads a life of its own quite independent of datum, of which it was originally the plural. It occurs in two constructions: as a plural noun (like earnings), taking a plural verb and plural modifiers (as these, many, a few) but not cardinal numbers, and serving as a referent for plural pronouns (as they, them); and as an abstract mass noun (like information), taking a singular verb and singular modifiers (as this, much, little), and being referred to by a singular pronoun (it). Both constructions are standard. The plural construction is more common in print, evidently because the house style of several publishers mandates it.
          Data is plural. Unless it's an abstract mass noun.
    •  If your professor told you that (5+ / 0-)

      "data" is singular, he was absolutely incorrect. Did he also fail Latin?

      •  I have no idea (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angry marmot

        His example was "these data are" is incorrect, and "this data is" is the correct format.

        I knew several students who had to rewrite their essays because he refused to budge on incorrect phrasing.  He was old back then so likely he's retired and very, very old (or possibly even dead) by now.

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:03:17 PM PST

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      •  Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

        There's been quite a bit of slippage on this, and I've noticed an increasing frequency of "the data is" / "the data indicates" in all sorts of journals. Personally, I always treat it as a plural, just like "criteria" or "agenda."

        Minor trivia: there is also a perfectly correct plural of "datums" used in geography and surveying: one geographic datum, more than one datums.

        Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time. (Terry Pratchett)

        by angry marmot on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:00:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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