[Ads-l] "among the data"?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Feb 7 19:12:43 UTC 2015


And continues to be so used in linguistics--"an interesting datum", "I am indebted to Wilson Gray for this datum", etc., are not that uncommon in contemporary papers. I agree that this use is specialized, whence perhaps the reaction to "among the data", which I find unusual but not impossible.  (Lots of google hits, so others don't share this hesitation.)  And it's also worth noting that "among" doesn't necessarily require a genuine plural but is perfectly happy with set-denoting singulars, as in "among the crowd".

LH
 
On Feb 7, 2015, at 1:38 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> Youth is truly wasted on the young. For those of us who are of a certain
> age, "data" *is* a plural noun and not a singular mass noun; _data_ is the
> plural of _datum_, meaning "given," in Latin.
> 
> On Sat, Feb 7, 2015 at 12:54 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
> 
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>> Subject:      "among the data"?
>> 
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 
>> Something in the following grates, but I'm not sure how to analyze or
>> describe it:
>> 
>> " '...' said Swedish [CEO of Anthem], whose personal information was
>> among the data accessed in the attack. "
>> 
>> An Associated Press item, AP writer Ricard Alonso-Zaldivar, on the
>> NYTimes web site titled "Hackers Access Records for Millions of
>> Anthem Customers."
>> 
>> "Among" requires a genuine plural, and doesn't work with a mass noun?
>> 
>> Joel
>> 
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>> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> 
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