[Ads-l] "among the data"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Feb 9 01:35:49 UTC 2015


I'm usually an old geezer about "data" being treated as singular, and 
therefore wouldn't object to it being used as a plural.  But somehow 
in "whose personal information was among the data accessed in the 
attack", data doesn't work for me as a plural.

Perhaps because it doesn't agree with "information"?  That is, I take 
"information" as a mass noun,* here given a singular verb form, and 
therefore expect "data" to act as a mass noun also.  And as I 
originally said, "among" doesn't work well for me with mass nouns.

If I understood Larry correctly, he finds "among the data" unusual 
also.  Perhaps we were brought up among the same time among the same locality.

* I see "informations" does exist, but apparently in the sense of 
"more than one item that informs".  And, except in usage related to 
law (e.g., "criminal informations"), not in the last century or two.

Joel

At 2/8/2015 07:20 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

>Then I'm still in knee-pants.
>
>But at first not even I could guess what was "wrong" with the usage.
>
>Perhaps Joel is just young at heart.
>
>JL
>
>On Sat, Feb 7, 2015 at 2:40 PM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> > Subject:      Re: "among the data"?
> >
> > 
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > On Sat, Feb 7, 2015 at 2:12 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > which I find unusual
> >
> >
> > I count *you* among the young, too, Larry. ;-), as I'm now uncomfortably
> > close to my 80's.
> >
> >
> > --
> > -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
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
>
>--
>"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
>------------------------------------------------------------
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