The word "Data" is a plural noun


I have been told throughout my college career that "data" is always treated as a plural noun. Is this a problem with the program?

See example:

Data were formatted in Microsoft Excel before being imported into MathCad.
asked Nov 14 '11 at 18:29 Elizabeth Wachel New member

Solve the problem by recasting the sentence:

Microsoft Excel formatted the data before importing it into MatchCad.

Bob ChapmanMar 19 '15 at 23:01

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3 answers


Many questions have been asked & answered on here & this one sounded familiar.  You can find Kimberly's answer here: & what she said was:


You are correct; data is a plural form of the noun datum.  Some consider this an antiquated construction, however, and many people now accept data as a singular and plural form.


You can use the search field above to look for questions similar to any you might have.


I'll add that as technology changes, so does the language that surrounds it.  Data is now very commonly thought of as one big hunk of information - a singular unit consisting of many smaller units of information. 


So one could think of it as "all the bits of data were formatted" or "the collection of data was formatted."  If this particular teacher has been one to tell you that it is always plural, then use it as the plural.  After all, the teacher is the one grading the paper. Sometimes when I am unclear of which way to go with words that have evolved, I reword it so that it is easier to figure out. 

link comment answered Nov 14 '11 at 22:38 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Yes, "Data" is plural of "Datum". "Datum" can be used as countable and uncountable noun but "Data" can only be used as uncountable noun.

link comment edited Nov 15 '12 at 11:00 dictionary word definition New member

I'm seeing some people post that the plural of datum is "datums."  Could this be correct?  (For example, 

link comment answered May 12 '15 at 16:20 Andrew Poretz New member

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