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 Post subject: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 4:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2003 1:01 am
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Location: The Herald in Everett, WA
Okay, I'll be the first to admit I'm feeling REALLY testy about this, but I cannot beLIEVE I'm sitting here listening to a couple of editors and a reporter discussing that it should be "data shows" instead of "data show" because, well, it sounds better.<p>I'm restraining myself from pointing out to readers who know English -- you know, the language in which this newspaper is printed -- it's NOT better to use bad grammar.<p>Grrr-r-r-r.....


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:04 pm 
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Location: Calgary, Canada
Better yet, strike or modify the term. Data by themselves don't show anything. It's the analysis or manipulation of the data that provides information.<p>[ September 08, 2003: Message edited by: Dyslexic ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 6:27 pm 
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Dys:<p>But that won't always help with the plural subject/verb thing...


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 7:04 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by Bumfketeer:
Dys:<p>But that won't always help with the plural subject/verb thing...<hr></blockquote><p>Perhaps I misunderstood the point of Jackie's post. I believe the word "data" is almost always misused in newspapers. In the rare instances where "data" is appropriate, it should obviously be treated as a plural. If Jackie was speaking in general about editors who deliberately violate verb/subject agreement, I don't have much to say.


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 7:40 pm 
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Location: The Herald in Everett, WA
I was a little too busy nibbling blisters on my tongue to keep from mouthing off, but I believe it was esteemed colleague JonScribe who attempted to point out during that discussion that substituting other words still would be "the numbers SHOW" or "the information SHOWS," because that's how verbs are supposed to be written for plural or singular objects, but I'm not so sure the ones in our newsroom chewing on this issue quite got it.... <p>It's "data show," damnitall!<p>Sigh. Back to wrestling with major wire news stories down to 10 inches at best.... Thanks for letting me vent.<p>[ September 08, 2003: Message edited by: Jackie ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 2:11 pm 
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So could someone then give us the best Testy Copy Editor opinion on "staff," which takes a plural verb? RIGHT: "When staff were available, no one called." WRONG: "When staff was available, no one called." I add "members" after staff, and it reads better. TCE opinon, anyone?


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 2:21 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by majorbabs:
So could someone then give us the best Testy Copy Editor opinion on "staff," which takes a plural verb? RIGHT: "When staff were available, no one called." WRONG: "When staff was available, no one called." I add "members" after staff, and it reads better. TCE opinon, anyone?<hr></blockquote>Well, in U.S. News land, staff takes a singular verb, if we have no way to make it staff members or recast.<p>Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't using staff with the plural more a British practice? As they do for words like generation, corporation and the like.<p>[ September 09, 2003: Message edited by: SusanV ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 4:06 pm 
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I tend to add "members" myself, because our HR director loves to write sentences like "All staff are required to attend." But isn't staff singular sometimes, as in "She was a member of the news staff. It won an award for Best News Story Under Deadline."


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 7:41 pm 
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Location: Dallas
This will make you scream. But I thought I'd add one of The Wichita Eagle's stylebook entries to the mix.
data — The word was originally the Latin plural of datum, a word that is obscure, at best, in English. In certain technical contexts, data can be considered plural ("The data from individual subjects were tabulated...."), but as a common synonym for information, it is singular ("The data was overwhelming.").


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 8:10 pm 
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Location: Calgary, Canada
There seems to be some confusion over the meaning of "data." There are two meanings for the word in modern usage. The first is in the context of statistical data, which are not information. Statistical data are the basis for information. The second is computer jargon, meaning "electronically-stored information." It is impracical to identify a piece of information as singular on a computer, since each character is really a series of ones and zeros. For this reason, "datum" is not useful when referring to electronically-stored information.<p>[ September 22, 2003: Message edited by: Dyslexic ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:33 pm 
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say "datum" isn't so useful at all anymore. I can honestly say I can't remember the last time I heard it in conversation. <p>It's a word that's losing the battle in this language's evolution.


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 5:01 pm 
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Location: New York
AP has something to say about this in the stylebook's "collective nouns" entry. When data is used to mean individual bits of information, it takes a plural noun. When it is used to mean a body of information, it takes a singular noun.


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 6:31 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by jbm:
AP has something to say about this in the stylebook's "collective nouns" entry. When data is used to mean individual bits of information, it takes a plural noun. When it is used to mean a body of information, it takes a singular noun.<hr></blockquote><p>And both are wrong. I think the point of this thread is that "data" is a misunderstood word and too valuable in limited contexts to change its meeting by style edict.


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 6:54 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
<p>And both are wrong. I think the point of this thread is that "data" is a misunderstood word and too valuable in limited contexts to change its meeting by style edict.<hr></blockquote><p>Ok, I can see how AP's fudging on its second point. But I don't see how its first point is wrong.<p>And I guess I don't understand what these "limited contexts" might be.


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2003 10:48 pm 
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Location: Cleveland, OH
I think we're refighting a battle the public made up its own mind on nearly a decade ago; "data" is singular now and we have to live with it, along with the atrocity of "e-mails." In a world where we have abandoned courtesy titles, middle initials and formal titles and are now having trouble with the full names of streets and roads, I have other brush fires to stamp out.


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 3:55 pm 
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Census Data Shows Americans Keeps Moving


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2003 4:12 pm 
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<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
Census Data Shows Americans Keeps Moving<hr></blockquote><p>Notice that no data were listed or referenced anywhere in that story.<p>[ September 24, 2003: Message edited by: Dyslexic ]</p>


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 Post subject: Re: Data SHOW, dammit!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2003 3:56 pm 
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Location: Ashland, Ore.
<blockquote><font size="1" face="TImes, TimesNR, serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by blanp:
Census Data Shows Americans Keeps Moving<hr></blockquote><p>"Americans" is also plural. Just a blown hed overall.


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