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Grammar: data is or data are?

The word data is traditionally a plural, especially in academia. The expectation is that the data be followed by the plural are, were, show etc instead of is, was, show etc.

The modern view, however, recognises as a collective noun and therefore allows data to be treated like information, i.e singular. This is true in journalism in particular, with 'the data shows', 'the latest data is wrong'.

 


About the author

Jesse Karjalainen is the author of The Joy of English: 100 conversations about the English Language, Cannibal – the language and history of the discovery of the New World, and Roanoke – the language and history of Early Colonial America.