A Plurality of Inconsequent Carps on Irksome Slapdashery

1 April 2010 at 7:21 pm (Uncategorized)

“Data” is the plural of “datum.” It is one “phenomenon” and one “criterion.”

These data comprise some of the criteria by which to avoid an unfortunate series of incorrect grammatical phenomena.

That’s all.

P.S. This is not an April Fool’s gag.



  1. Objective said,

    🙂 And it is almost enough.

    011 is articulated as zero, one, one and not O one one – if i may lay this egg.

  2. Mark said,

    Every time I see apostrophes in plurals I feel like hurling. It’s PCs, not PC’s, people. An apostrophe denotes the genitive case, not a plural. Why do the illiterate and the undereducated think there there should be an apostrophe in every plural? I fucking give up.

    Also, there are freaky plurals that are fashionable in certain circles, for example in geek circles the plural of “box” has suddenly becaome “boxen”. Well, my geek reaction is WTF? The plural of box in English is still boxes and every time I see “boxen” I pour as much scorn as possible on the perpetrator unless the context makes it plain that he is German and genuinely ignorant of the correct plural.

    If a word has been assimilated into English, then the plural should follow English grammatical rules, not Greek or Latin. So the plural of stadium is stadiums, not stadia. Usage sometimes mitigates against this common-sense rule, for example “media” is an English word totally unconnected to its singular, “medium”.

    And totally off-topic, what has happened to “sex” to refer to the, well, sex of a person or animal? That word has become taboo in favour of “gender” which actually doesn’t mean the same thing at all. Bah!

  3. defollyant said,

    True enough, Mark. The much-abused apostrophe is a source of some annoyance, particularly when it’s misused as a plural. There is, however, one case where it does correctly denote a plural instead of a possessive or a contraction/omission, namely where single letters are concerned, e.g. “the battle of the x’s.” In SA, we have the compounding factor that Afrikaans sprinkles apostrophes liberally over just about whichever plural it can find where the singular ends in a vowel, of which there are many. Carelessness and inattentiveness transport this abomination into all other languages.

    “Sex” is not a PC word. It’s the New Puritanism with more pretensions to sensitivity and fewer to morality. Not that different from the old, really.

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