DAILY GRAMMAR (DG) 31-05-2018

1a. I don’t know anything about her whereabout. (No)

I don’t know anything about her whereabouts. (Yes)

1b. Bola’s whereabouts is known to me. (Yes)

Bola’s whereabouts are known to me. (Yes)

(“Whereabouts” is treated as singular or plural. Since the middle of the 20th century though, treating it as a pluralia tantrum is more common, hence it attracts a plural verb more often than not.)

2a. The youth doesn’t really appreciate that this life is short. (No)

The youth don’t really appreciate that this life is short. (Yes)

2b. I want the police to arrest the three youth who broke my door. (No)

I want to the police to arrest the three youths who broke my door. (Yes)

2c. I was a good footballer in my youths/ youthful period. (No)

I was a good footballer in my youth. (Yes)

(“Youth” refers to the age range of when a person is young, the period before one reaches adulthood. Generally a collective noun designating a group of young people, “youth” also refers to “a young man”, the plural of which is “youths”, the only instance it takes a plural suffix. This means that “youths” refers to boys only.)

3a. My data were collected over a period of six months. (No)

My data was collected over a period of six months. (Yes)

3b. I have a lot of datas on your friend. (No)

I have a lot of data on your friend. (Yes)

(Actually, using “data” as either singular or plural is contentious. It is basically a plural Latin word, the singular form of which is “datum”. However, since data is often used as “information” these days, it is in modern English considered another uncountable noun that attracts a singular verb. In specific fields where “datum” doesn’t sound anachronistic, “data” may be used in its plural sense; so 3a may also be grammatical.)

Did You Know?

A “crockan” is a piece of food that has shrivelled up and burned in cooking.

Do you know anyone who likes eating crockans?

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