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Is "data" singular or plural?

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Is "data" singular or plural?

  1. 1. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing <ul><li>Is “data” singular or plural? </li></ul>
  2. 2. Is “data” singular or plural? <ul><li>The short answer is both. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Count Nouns vs. Mass Nouns <ul><li>Count nouns are used for objects that can be counted . </li></ul><ul><li>Count nouns can be singular or plural. </li></ul><ul><li>If a count noun is the subject of a sentence, the verb must agree with the noun in number. </li></ul><ul><li>Example 1: “The last apple is on the bottom shelf.” (apple = S, is = S) </li></ul><ul><li>Example 2: “The eggs are fresh.” (eggs = P, are = P) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Count Nouns vs. Mass Nouns <ul><li>Mass nouns are used for objects that cannot be counted. </li></ul><ul><li>Mass nouns always take a singular verb. </li></ul><ul><li>Example 1: “The iced tea is already sweetened.” (is = S) </li></ul><ul><li>Example 2: “They say bacon is bad for you, but I love it.” (is = S) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Count Nouns vs. Mass Nouns <ul><li>Ask yourself, “How many or how much ?” </li></ul><ul><li>If the answer is “how many ,” use a count noun. </li></ul><ul><li>If the answer is “how much ,” use a mass noun. </li></ul><ul><li>We use fewer with count nouns. </li></ul><ul><li>We use less with mass nouns. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Is “data” singular or plural? <ul><li>Correct: “Much of this data is useless, because of its lack of specifics.” (is = S, its = S) </li></ul><ul><li>Incorrect: “Much of this data are useless, because of its lack of specifics.” (much = mass nouns, this = S, are = P, its = S) </li></ul><ul><li>Corrected: “ Many of these data are useless, because of their lack of specifics.” (many = count nouns, these = P, are = P, their = P) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Is “data” singular or plural? <ul><li>If you want to use data as a singular mass noun, you should be able to replace it with the word “information.” </li></ul><ul><li>Example: “Much of this information is useless, because of its lack of specifics.” (much = mass nouns, this = S, information = S, is = S, its = S) </li></ul><ul><li>If you want to use data as a plural count noun, you should be able to replace it with the word “facts.” </li></ul><ul><li>Example: “Many of these facts are useless, because of their lack of specifics.” (many = count nouns, these = P, facts = P, are = P, their = P) </li></ul>

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