"Data is" or "data are"

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I hope anyone can help me with this, what is actually correct in English 'data' is or 'data are'?

In other languages, like Swedish, the word data is always in the plural form....

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sach

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Thanks,

So the 'data are' should be used... correct?
 

banderas

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Thanks,

So the 'data are' should be used... correct?

Theoretically, "datum" is the singular and "data" is plural. However in common usage "data" is often used for both.;-)
 

riverkid

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M-W:

data

usage Data leads a life of its own quite independent of datum, of which it was originally the plural. It occurs in two constructions: as a plural noun (like earnings), taking a plural verb and plural modifiers (as these, many, a few) but not cardinal numbers, and serving as a referent for plural pronouns (as they, them); and as an abstract mass noun (like information), taking a singular verb and singular modifiers (as this, much, little), and being referred to by a singular pronoun (it). Both constructions are standard. The plural construction is more common in print, evidently because the house style of several publishers mandates it.

Again, it doesn't matter what the plural is or was in Latin. English is not Latin. Words are borrowed, rules aren't. When you think about it, such a notion is ludicrous. The rules for our language, any language would have to be constantly relearned to match the numerous languages from which we've borrowed words.

English has its own rules for forming plurals, rules that are natural to ENLs. From the google data, though it's certainly not conclusive, it seems that data as a singular is the preferred choice.

Results 1 - 10 of about 3,450,000 English pages for "data is".

Results 1 - 10 of about 2,620,000 English pages for "data are".
 
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sach

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Getting confuse. I am writing my thesis, so I want it to be academic correct. I understand that neither of it is wrong. But i wanna know which one is academically correct.

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banderas

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Getting confuse. I am writing my thesis, so I want it to be academic correct. I understand that neither of it is wrong. But i wanna know which one is academically correct.

Thanks
UK scientific publishing usually still prefers treating it as a plural. The New York Times regularly use it in the plural. Go for "data are" then.;-)

In spoken, infromal English I would rather threat it as a singular (as a mass noun).
 

daznorthants

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As someone that uses "data are" quite often and having it changed by others is frustrating. That said on checking the conclusion has always been that data are is correct. The unfortunate thing is that when spoken as a plural is sometimes just sounds wrong. In an effort to avoid confusion and frowns from others I turn the sentence to avoid it where possible.
 

riverkid

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Getting confused. I am writing my thesis, so I want it to be academically correct. I understand that neither of them is wrong. But i wanna know which one is academically correct.

Thanks

For that you'd have to find out which style manual your professor wants you to use, Sach. Style manuals differ in how they treat certain aspects of formal written English. Ask which one to use and follow it and then you'll be completely safe.
 

Anglika

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Getting confuse. I am writing my thesis, so I want it to be academic correct. I understand that neither of it is wrong. But i wanna know which one is academically correct.

Thanks

The datum is

The data are


However, it is accepted that "data" has become a term in its own right and will take the singular.

Can you give an example of your usage?
 

riverkid

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M-W: "The plural construction is more common in print, evidently because the house style of several publishers mandates it."

I'm of the opinion that these "Latinisms" have survived largely because of prescriptive/pedantic pretensions. When they are dropped into a completely natural English language environment, what happens? Exactly what should happen, they follow the rules/guidelines of English.

It's kind of like pedants demanding that words today carry only old obsolete meanings or the meanings that were found in the original language. It just doesn't wash because memorizing words from dictionaries is not how we learn vocabulary.
 

David L.

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You are writing a scientific paper. If you are talking 'data' then it sounds like you are referring to statistics, numbers of some kind. Therefore, it should be regarded as plural and hence, "The data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney One-Way Analysis of Variance" etc. The rigour of your scientific work would be viewed skeptically otherwise. "What thoroughness of approach to scientific investigation can we rely on from someone who has so little familiarity with the very basics that he doesn't even know that 'data' is plural, scoff, scoff."

When using Data = information, as with computer data, then consider it singular, as in, "Ensure your data is protected by installing a Firewall protection program."
 
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riverkid

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From my first posting.

=================
M-W:

data

usage Data leads a life of its own quite independent of datum, of which it was originally the plural.

================

+++++++++++++
From my third to last posting:

For that you'd have to find out which style manual your professor wants you to use, Sach. Style manuals differ in how they treat certain aspects of formal written English. Ask which one to use and follow it and then you'll be completely safe.
+++++++++++++++++++

Observational skills are exceedingly important for teachers, aren't they?
 

Tak

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This is what I learned from a dictionary.
When "data" is treated as a singular noun, it refers to "information" (a body of data), and when "data" is treated as a plural noun, it refers to "items of information" (individual data).
This could mean that whether "data" is used as a singular or plural noun depends a lot on the user. Scientists who tend to be more detail-oriented may prefer to use "data" in the plural, while others really don't care much about the usage of "data".:roll:
 

riverkid

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This is what I learned from a dictionary.
When "data" is treated as a singular noun, it refers to "information" (a body of data), and when "data" is treated as a plural noun, it refers to "items of information" (individual data).
This could mean that whether "data" is used as a singular or plural noun depends a lot on the user. Scientists who tend to be more detail-oriented may prefer to use "data" in the plural, while others really don't care much about the usage of "data".:roll:

Konnichiwa Tak. Irrashaimase.

I think that you've described the situation well. I beg to differ on one small detail though. The "others" are being as strict in their usage of 'data' as the scientists. When English users view 'data' as 'information', it logically follows that it attracts the singular verb 'is'.

By the bye, Tak, does Japanese add an 's' to form the plural for all the words that it has borrowed from English?
 

Tak

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Hi Riverkid!

Well, I should have used "many people" instead of "others". :cry: My basis for saying that is:
1) Assuming technical data refer to specifications or a set of data, and thus to individual items of data, it should be treated as a plural noun. (I may be wrong here.)
2) The results of my googling "are" vs. "is" are as follows:
technical data are: 21,400 hits
technical data is: 40,600 hits
technical data include: 2,260 hits
technical data includes: 3,770 hits

Although I realize that data from Google cannot be trusted 100%, I get the impression from the results that the term "data" is used somewhat loosely in terms of "singular vs. plural".

I think it is safe to say that we do not have the concept of countable and non-countable nouns in the Japanese language. In fact, I think all nouns are countable. But, we do not change the form of nouns like you do in English when using nouns in the plural. And borrowed words are no exceptions. And this, of course, makes it difficult for many Japanese learners of the English language to grasp the concept of "countables vs. non-countables", particularly to know when a non-countable turns into a countable and vice versa (a BIG sigh).:roll:
 

Anglika

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Getting confuse. I am writing my thesis, so I want it to be academic correct. I understand that neither of it is wrong. But i wanna know which one is academically correct.

Thanks


It really would help if you can give us examples of how you want to use it.
 

riverkid

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You are writing a scientific paper. If you are talking 'data' then it sounds like you are referring to statistics, numbers of some kind. Therefore, it should be regarded as plural and hence, "The data were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney One-Way Analysis of Variance" etc. The rigour of your scientific work would be viewed skeptically otherwise. ...

When using Data = information, as with computer data, then consider it singular, as in, "Ensure your data is protected by installing a Firewall protection program."

David, isn't this a perfect example of the pretentiousness that I mentioned? I'm sure that there are scientific papers in computing science, so could it not be that, [as you have allowed, above, in red], there just might be some instances where both singular and plural form would see use in the same paper?

How is it that computer data can be viewed as 'information' but "statistics, numbers of some kind" have to be viewed as individual units? It doesn't seem to make any sense.

To Sach, the original poster: despite the ongoing discussion on this issue, you still want to check with your thesis adviser as to which style is preferred.
 
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riverkid

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Hi Riverkid!

In fact, I think all nouns are countable. But, we do not change the form of nouns like you do in English when using nouns in the plural. And borrowed words are no exceptions. ...

Thanks, Tak.

So, [and this question isn't aimed at Tak] why wouldn't Japanese add "s's" to all the words that it has borrowed from English when making reference to more than one? After all, in English the plural of 'cocktail' is 'cocktails'; the plural of 'girl' is 'girls'.
 
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sach

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Thanks everyone for the replies.

It really would help if you can give us examples of how you want to use it.
A few examples are:
[FONT=&quot]The staging begins with coordinated extracts from the operational systems; the raw data is transformed into presentable information in staging area to fit business needs and is finally loaded into the data warehouse in the presentation area.

[/FONT][FONT=&quot]The presentation area is where the data is organized, stored and made available for direct querying by users; report writers and other analytical applications.

[/FONT][FONT=&quot]Data in conventional operational systems is entered either automatically or by a clerk. [/FONT]
I am talking about data as a collection of all the information stored in diverse systems.

//Sach
 
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