Plural or singular


I've got the following sentence:

"Recent statistics (show) that in 2005 in the EU 41,600 people were killed in road accidents."

Should I use the verb show in the singular or plural form. I raed the explanation on www.thefreedictionary but I'm not sure which is correct.

2 answers


The verb should agree in number with the subject, in this case 'statistics' (plural). The sentence is correct.

link answered Jun 02 '13 at 09:51 Ahmad Barnard Expert

I'm afraid it isn't so easy. Some dictionaries read:
1. (used with a sing. verb) The mathematics of the collection, organization, and interpretation of numerical data, especially the analysis of population characteristics by inference from sampling.
2. (used with a pl. verb) Numerical data.

So, which situations is meant in my sentence?

Artur StrozynskiJun 02 '13 at 11:24

Yes, it is that easy. As Ahmad noted, your usage of statistics is plural. His answer is correct.

Patty TJun 02 '13 at 11:49

Ok. Now, I know that in my sentence the usage of statistics is plural. Thank you for your help. But w can also use a verb in singular after "statistics" like "statistics is ...". What is meant here is statistics as a science, isn't it?

Artur StrozynskiJun 02 '13 at 16:39

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If you say: 'Statistics is an interesting subject,' then you use the singular since you're referring to 'the subject of statistics'. However, in your sentence, you use 'statistics' to mean 'numbers' or 'data'. This way, you could use either singular or plural. For instance, you could point out that a certain incident 'is just another statistic' (singular) in a specific context of events or in a series of statistics (plural). Unlike the word 'politics' (always singular), 'statistics' can actually take the singular form too, but this not the case in your example.

link comment answered Jun 04 '13 at 00:16 Ahmad Barnard Expert

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