Common problems with singular and plural 

  • The word data

    The word data can be singular or plural. However, in common usage we recommend using the singular; in research, convention favours the plural.

    Exemple correcte Much of this data is useless because the file has been corrupted.

    Exemple correcte The data show a 15% increase in bronchial diseases in four of the five cohorts examined.


  • Areas of knowledge

    Many names of academic and scientific disciplines appear to be plural. These include economics, electronics, physics, statistics and telecommunications, which are usually singular in Catalan (economia, electrònica, física, estadística and telecomunicació, respectively). However, when treated as the name of a field of knowledge or as a subject of study, they are considered collective nouns and take a singular verb.

    Exemple correcte Economics is commonly regarded as a soft science.


    A common but informal version of the term mathematics is maths (British English) or math (American English). In most documents, only the full version of the word is appropriate.
Darrera actualització: 15-11-2017
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Recommended citation:
«Common problems with singular and plural» [en línia]. A: Criteris de la Universitat de Barcelona (CUB). Style Guide. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona. Serveis Lingüístics. <http://www.ub.edu/cub/criteri.php?id=2422> [consulta: 23 setembre 2021].