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Ask Marilyn: 'Data Are' or 'Data Is'?

Tim Knecht (city unknown) writes:

Marilyn: You wrote, "Small particle transmission...may be possible because these particles might remain airborne, but data on this is limited." (February 10, 2013) My question: Why did you use the singular verb "is" after the plural noun "data"?

Marilyn responds:


Because the standard has changed. The word "data" is now acceptable as either plural or singular in most common contexts. In this case, I believe that using the word "are" would have appeared pedantic.


 
 
 
 

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