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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Phenomenon/phenomena

    Sentence taken from an article:

    "Alas, there’s no escaping how American this Trump phenomena is."


    According to Microsoft Word, "phenomena" must be replaced with phenomenon, in the above example. Is plural wrong in this context?
    Because, it seems to me, if phenomena was replaced by any other word it would be singular.

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    #2

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    You are right. It should be phenomenon.

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    #3

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    In AmE, phenomena is frequently used for both the singular and the plural.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    In AmE, phenomena is frequently used for both the singular and the plural.
    Really? Consciously? By whom?

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    #5

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Really? Consciously? By whom?
    I'm pretty certain phenomena is much more common for the singular than phenomenon for the large majority of those Americans who use the word. These are evidently people who never learned that the latter is the singular in Greek.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    Lots of people use "phenomena" as the singular in BrE too. Usually, they simply don't know that "phenomenon" is the correct singular form. It's the same as people using "data" instead of "datum".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #7

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    I couldn't agree more with emsr2d2 above. Just because lots of people don't know that it's wrong doesn't make it right! It goes back to the old descriptive/prescriptive issue. We EFL teachers are not expected to describe what people do say -- that's for linguists and lexicographers -- but to advise on what people should say (or rather what we think they want to say).

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    #8

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    Lots of people use "phenomena" as the singular in BrE too. Usually, they simply don't know that "phenomenon" is the correct singular form. It's the same as people using "data" instead of "datum".
    My father is a retired academic who is among the very few to insist that data is plural. He also persists in pronouncing router like "rooter", explaining that the 99.9% of the population who pronounce it like "pouter" are wrong.

    I enjoy the mild eccentricity of treating data as plural, but I certainly don't waste any enamel on tooth-gnashing when I hear nearly everyone else use it as a singular mass noun. I confess that my teeth suffer a bit when I hear phenomena as a singular noun. It's a waste of effort, though. One hopes Jane Austen's character Henry Tilney eventually quit griping about people using nice to mean "pleasant"; whether he did or not, griping about a singular phenomena is ultimately pointless.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    I would hope that if I were learning a foreign language I would be taught how people really do speak it and write it and not be taught according to somebody's idea of how it should be done.

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Phenomenon/phenomena

    Quote Originally Posted by Sartre View Post
    Sentence taken from an article:

    "Alas, there’s no escaping how American this Trump phenomena is."


    According to Microsoft Word, "phenomena" must be replaced with phenomenon, in the above example. Is THE plural wrong in this context?
    Because, it seems to me, if phenomena was replaced by any other word it would be singular.
    I agree with Microsoft Word on this one.

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