Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 14:37:55 -0400

Author: Vacek Miglus

Subject: Re: data: singular or plural (was Breakage)


At 02:25 PM 9/14/2004, you wrote:
>This debate has come up many times around here. I'm curious as to what
>you guys have heard...
>I know the word "data" is technically plural, but some use it as singular,
>as in, "The data is within the error range." vs. "The data are
>within..." I'm wondering if the split is age related.... maybe "data" has
>morphed from singular to plural over the years? Like asking for a
>"tissue" has morphed into "Kleenex".
>How do you use "data"? The students? (Other) faculty? Etc?

From the OED:

pl. of


Def. #3. Used attrib. and in Comb. in the pl. form, as data bank,
-handling, -transfer vbl. n., transmission; data capture Computing, the
action or process of entering data into a computer, esp. when it occurs as
an accompaniment to a related operation; cf.
n. 1e; data entry Computing, the action, process, or an act, of entering
data into a computer; freq. attrib.; data file Computing, a file containing
data (as opposed to a program); data link, a telecommunications link over
which data are transmitted, usu. to or from a data-processing centre; data
logger, any instrument for making a recording, either continuously or
intermittently, of the successive values of a number of different physical
quantities; so data-logging vbl. n.; data processing, the performance by
automatic means of any operations on empirical data, such as classifying or
analysing them or carrying out calculations on them; also transf.; so data
processor; data protection, the legal regulation of access to data held in
computer storage; data retrieval Computing, retrieval of data held in
computer storage; data sheet, a leaflet containing a summary of useful
information on some subject; data structure Computing, the way data is
organized in a computer, in so far as it affects the use or modification of
the data; also, a collection of data items given a particular structure;
data terminal Computing, a terminal at which a person can enter data into a
computer-based system or receive data from one; data type Computing, a
particular kind of data item, as defined by the values it can take or the
operations that can be performed on it.


From Tue Sep 14 15:36:55 2004