I have seen “data” used with “show” and with “shows” in the newspaper. For example,

  1. Data show that domestic violence increases when there is a greater unemployment.

  2. Data shows that domestic violence increases when there is a greater unemployment.

Which one is correct?

Please clarify is it grammatically correct to use shows in above sentence.

  • There are also very detailed answers on our sister site English Language & Usage: Is “data” treated as singular or plural in formal contexts?
    – ColleenV
    Jun 3, 2020 at 18:13
  • You said you saw a sentence in the newspaper, but there are two sentences in your question. Which sentence was in the paper and why do you think it was a mistake?
    – ColleenV
    Jun 3, 2020 at 22:09
  • @ColleenV both the sentences are there in news paper
    – user372766
    Jun 4, 2020 at 1:57
  • It seems unlikely that the same sentence would be written with two different verbs in a newspaper, so I think I am not understanding you.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 4, 2020 at 2:15
  • @ColleenV .sorry for my inability to clearly expree.i have seen in a newspaper as data show then i search it in google.Then some reference papers use data shows as well
    – user372766
    Jun 4, 2020 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


Data is the plural of datum, therefore, show is correct. But that doesn't mean shows is incorrect.

Use of data as a mass noun (which is treated as singular, grammatically) is widespread and widely accepted, and is probably the more common usage today.

So I would accept either, and expect to see shows more commonly.

  • Grr. The OED shows examples of mass-noun data from 1702, only 70 years after its first appearance in English. And yet people still trot out these categorical statements about what is "correct". (It also has data as a singular, with plural datas, from 1645)
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 3, 2020 at 19:55
  • @ColinFine, when I said that "show is correct" I didn't intend to imply that "shows" is incorrect.
    – The Photon
    Jun 3, 2020 at 20:00
  • Thank you, The Photon
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 3, 2020 at 21:50

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