Mudcat Café message #3786842 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #159749   Message #3786842
Posted By: Airymouse
23-Apr-16 - 06:17 PM
Thread Name: BS: Grammar Police/Pedant alert
Subject: RE: BS: Grammar Police/Pedant alert
Random thoughts.
It seems that in the "soft" sciences, like economics and sociology, "data" is always construed as a plural, whereas in physics and mathematics it is usually taken as a collective noun. Curiously, everyone agrees about the distributive use of "number," as in "because of the traffic jam, a number of people are going to be late."
Rule 1 of Strunk and White's Elements of Style says that the possessive singular is formed by adding 's. Even Strunk and White allow exceptions for biblical phrases and ANCIENT Greek Names; e.g., "for righteousness sake, in Jesus Name and Archimedes Screw."By the by, Archimedes Screw was invented hundreds of years before Archimedes was born. The U.S. Post Office routinely changes the names of addresses: "Tysons Corner" not "Tyson's Corner." "The Elements of Style" is very influential in the states, because even if you disagree with the rules, at least it's clear what the rules are.