[R] OT --- grammar.

John jwd @end|ng |rom @urewe@t@net
Tue Jun 26 03:05:08 CEST 2018

On Sun, 24 Jun 2018 20:16:24 -0400
JRG <loesljrg using accucom.net> wrote:

> On 06/24/2018 08:03 PM, Bert Gunter wrote:
> > 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:
> > 
> > http://www.onlinegrammar.com.au/top-10-grammar-myths-data-is-plural-so-must-take-a-plural-verb/  
> Hmmm.  "semi-authoritative or not", the 1980 Edition of the Oxford
> American dictionary says:
> "data (day-ta) n. pl. facts or information ...  'Data' should not be
> used with a singular verb, as in 'the data is inconclusive'; it is by
> origin a Latin plural (the singular is 'datum') and should be used
> with a plural verb. ..."
> Interesting how Latin seemed to have changed in the past 40 or so
> years.
In fact, "the data are/is inconclusive" is shorthand for a longer
sentence.  Data are merely observations.  It is only after they are
made and summarized that a conclusion might be reached.  In which
case it was the analysis of the data that was inconclusive.  Since many
analyses of a single data set can be conducted and they are not
necessarily all going to be inconclusive, it really never was the data
that were inconclusive.


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