Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

data is vs. data are

I consider “data” as collective, like “sugar.” You can have a lot of sugar or a lot of data. Then “the sugar IS on the table,” or “the data IS correct.”

I do not like “the data ARE.” Never did. I worked as a technical writer and my philosophy was as I have stated. (Even though data can have one bit called datum, whereas sugar must have one grain.)

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But "data is" is grammatically wrong.
It comes from Latin, datum is singular, data is plural, therefore you need to conjugate the verb accordingly.

Yourbame Nov-08-2016

2 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

Yes, "data" may be plural, but the word "data" and the word "information" are often (if not always) interchangeable. Information is data. Just as it does not SOUND right for me to say the information ARE, it has never sounded right for me to say (or hear) "data are". I think of information as "stuff" and of data as "stuff." "The stuff is in the computer" does not sound bad. So thank you, I'll keep using IS with data. It might be Latin but I'm English-speaking. As far as I'm concerned it got transformed in the switch to English.

hstaunch@hotmail.com Nov-08-2016

6 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

Agree with hstaunch@hotmail.com
Good analogies with sugar and information.

Either of them are correct though.
"Data" can be followed by both a singular and plural verb.
But personally I feel more like using "is".

IDon'tKnowMyNameHelp Nov-21-2016

3 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

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