January 13, 2014

Word usage for nincompoops

Lately I've noted the media using plural verbs for singular subjects that seem to be composed of more than one item. For instance, this morning I saw the following headline at physorg:
"Climate engineering: what do the public think?"
Puh-leeze. Yes, we know there's more than one person involved in the word "public" -- but it's singular. It should say "what does the public think". Sheesh.

This is a pandemic at the moment. The word "couple" is also becoming plural. I often see lines like this in the news:
"When a couple plan to have children...".
No, no, no! It's "When a couple plans to have children".

I do not like this trend. I do not like this trend at all.


Artichoke Annie said...

Dog knows I make a million mistakes, but I have noticed the same thing. I thought perhaps it was brain that had gone wonky.

So someone has decided to re-write the rules?

writenow said...

Thus far, the data is inconclusive.

Just thought I'd stick that in. I hate when people use "data" as a plural noun, and most educated people do. They think this is the correct way to do it because they consider the word's origin: datum is the singular form; data the plural.

I beg to differ. To speak of data is to speak of a "collection" of data. It's singular. I wince each time I hear someone say "the data are inconclusive". It just ain't right!