Would  you say  ' the people is . . .  ' ? 

bobh

On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 4:22 PM, Chip Davis <chip@aviatrexx.com> wrote:
Not so fast.  Speaking as an unashamed grammar/spelling nag who was
eating, shooting, and leaving long before the book came out, this is
one case where the best rule is to go with what sounds most natural to
the ear.

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data et cetera

Robert is correct as to the origin of "data" but like the hoary
admonition never to split an infinitive, this is another case where
the Latinate grammar rule does not work well with modern English
usage.  "Data" is usually considered a mass noun, like "food".  You
wouldn't say "Here are your food", would you?

Litmus tests: Which sounds more natural: "Here's your data" or "Here
are your data"?  "This data is unreliable" or "These data are unreliable"?

Admittedly, many formal style guides require "data" to be used as a
plural noun, but such usage sounds pretentious, along the lines of "It
is I at the door."

Bottom line: despite its origin as a plural noun, we think of an
aggregation of datum as a single conceptual unit, thus we treat it as
a singular noun.

-Chip-

On 12/23/10 18:21 Mark Miesfeld said:
> Hi Bob,
>
> My English grammar is not the best.  But, if "data is" is incorrect
> grammar, I think we could fix it.
>
> --
> Mark Miesfeld
>
> On Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 9:53 AM, Robert Hamilton <bobh.mail@gmail.com> wrote:
>> I've started looking at rxMath and have a question.  I intend to flag " data
>> is " because the word data is the plural of "datum" and 'data is '  is like
>> saying 'people is .'
>>
>> bobh
>>
>> PS: I don't expect it to get changed. . .
>>
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