[R] OT --- grammar.

Bert Gunter bgunter@4567 @end|ng |rom gm@||@com
Mon Jun 25 02:03:57 CEST 2018

Ted, et. al.:

Re: "Data is" vs "data are" ... Heh heh!

"This is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put."
(Attributed to Churchill in one form or another, likely wrongly.)

See here for some semi-authoritative dicussion:



Bert Gunter

"The trouble with having an open mind is that people keep coming along and
sticking things into it."
-- Opus (aka Berkeley Breathed in his "Bloom County" comic strip )

On Sun, Jun 24, 2018 at 3:44 PM, Ted Harding <ted.harding using wlandres.net>

> On Mon, 2018-06-25 at 09:46 +1200, Rolf Turner wrote:
> > Does/should one say "the degrees of freedom is defined to be" or "the
> > degrees of freedom are defined to be"?
> >
> > Although value of "degrees of freedom" is a single number, the first
> > formulation sounds very odd to my ear.
> >
> > I would like to call upon the collective wisdom of the R community to
> > help me decide.
> >
> > Thanks, and my apologies for the off-topic post.
> >
> > cheers,
> > Rolf Turner
> Interesting question, Rolf!
> >From my point of view. I see "degrees of freedon" as a plural noun,
> because of "degrees". But in some cases, we have only 1 degree of
> freedon. Then the degrees of freedon is 1.
> But we do not say, in that case, "the degree of freedom is defined
> to be", or the degree of freedom are 1"
> Nor would we say "The degrees of freedom are 19".!
> So I thonk that the solution is to encapsulate the term within
> aingle quotes, so that it becomes a singular entity. Thus:
> The 'degrees of freedom' is defined to be ... "; and
> The 'degrees of freedom' is 1.
> Or
> The degrees of freedom' is 19.
> This is not the same issue as (one of my prime hates) saying
> "the data is srored in the dataframe ... ". "Data" is a
> plural noun (ainguler "datum"), and I would insist on
> "the data are stored ... ". The French use "une donnee" and
> "les donnees"; the Germans use "ein Datum", "der Daten";
> so they know what they're doing! English-speakers mostly do not"
> Best wishes to all,
> Ted.
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