Lorem ipsum quantum ploncum

The tutor that I will be submitting my assignment to prefers data to be plural. 

Now, I am a linguistic liberal: I am not sure if there can ever be such thing as ‘correct’ usage and however you use the language is fine by me so long as I can observe it, I am a linguistic voyeur as well you see.  And on top of that, I’m a linguistic democrat, I tend to go with my peer group if only to improve my chances of being understood.

So, I follow the usage of most people, and regard data as basically indivisible, like fog or rice. Thus: ‘the data is interesting’. Ok, I admit I use media in the plural, but you can still say medium and not be a complete arse-hole.  

You see, I think that only someone whose datum is right up their rectum convolutes the English language like that and just such a datum-rectum-qantum-lorem-ipsum is teaching me this module and he has thrown a linguistic tantrum, and now so am I. How bloody dare he impose his linguistic quirks upon me? Just because he’s the teacher an’ has a doctorate an’ all.

I’m being oppressed by the patriarchy!

The question is, can I write a whole paper on research methods without using data as the subject of a verb?

I am quite tempted to say ‘the results we get datis’ and let him ablate on that.

Or ‘the implications datorum’.


I like that.

Decline on that genitive, datum boy!

9 responses to “Lorem ipsum quantum ploncum

  1. Oh jeez,

    that’s like those heroine novels where she’s running around in her nightie with the candelabrum; not the candelabra. Rebel against this linguistic facism, Aphra.

  2. Include datum and every other out-moded word you can think of. In fact, write the damned thing in Middle English – it’s got to be worth the effort.

  3. Ha, you can get him back by talking about Committees and Councils, and then using a plural or singular verb (whichever would annoy him more).

  4. I managed it. I wrote 4800 words on research methods without using data as the subject of a verb once. Well, just the once, and that was a quotation.

    In fact, I’m sort of coming around: I can see that quantitative data might be plural (“what do the numbers tell us?”) but I still hear qualitative data as that sort of solid noun that’s always in the singular (“bullshit’s like that”).

    That is also a useful distinction to note, and one I might even affect.


  5. It’s one of those … odd ones, isn’t it? I mean, it feels somehow wrong to say ‘datum’ even though for there to be data (pl) there must, logically, be datum (singular). In any case, when speaking of elements of information – or data – they’ve got to be plural to be meaningful given that their interpretation is volume-based. Or am I being horribly obscure? OK, I’ll shut up then!

  6. I simply HAVE to share this nugget I discovered on a training course last week.

    Fire up Word 2010. Type in the following, then press return:



  7. Very nice. Thank you!

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