Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Data is already plural

The plural for schema is schemata.
The singular of data is datum.

The following are examples of words that should be avoided from being used, unless you are aware of their implications:
datas, equipments, deers, waters, soils, fishes.

This is a word that should not be used at all: schemas.

Water, soil and equipment are examples of collective nouns. When you have multi-piece sets of furniture or equipment, you do not say,
Your five equipments and four furnitures are in the warehouse.

The more comfortable sentence is,
Your five-piece equipment and four-piece furniture are in the warehouse.

Normally, we would say,
I have tasted almost all the bottles of water in the house.

However, to describe plurality of collectives, for example to say that you have tasted all the different varieties of water found in the world,
I have tasted almost all the waters in the world.

I have expertise in almost all the soils in the country - says the experienced geologist.
I have hunted all the deers in North America - says the avid deer hunter.
I have tasted all the fishes in the world - says the seafood connoisseur.
I have used softwares of every kind.

Therefore, to describe many files and multiple formats, all pertaining to one type of data,
I have uploaded all the manufacturing data for the month.

Data is already a plural and use of the word datas should be avoided. However, if you persist and insist, at least use it sensibly.

The following would be used to describe multiple collections of data, each collection being distinct from the others,
I have uploaded all the datas for the month for your manufacturing, finance, engineering and marketing projects.