Data – singular or plural?

Because the meaning data is much like that of the singular noun information, and because its Latin -a plural announces the word’s plural status less plainly than a final s would, it is often treated as if it were singular. This use is extremely common, and few perceive it as wrong these days, especially given the word’s connotation of a collection or single unit made up of many informational subunits.

All the same, in formal English, Our data have been assembled over a number of years would be regarded as correct, and commonly used constructions such as very little data, the data shows…, and a great deal of data would be regarded as incorrect.

<taken from Microsoft Encarta Dictionary>

Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s