Lonely in a Crowd — The Woes of Some Singular Plural Nouns

Published on 07 Dec, 2016

Generic Grammar

A few plural nouns are considered singular in all or certain senses.

Among them are diseases such as rickets, activities such as athletics and gymnastics, branches of knowledge or science such as economics and statistics.

For instance:

  • Mumps, which was once thought to be eradicated, is on the rise again.
  • Economics is part of the curriculum.

Conversely, plural nouns such as data and media are often considered singular.  

In scientific writing, though, data can be treated as plural:

  • The data were validated for accuracy.

In general writing, data is usually treated as a singular noun:

  • Data indicates the country’s fundamentals are strong.