Things have moved on since Freud’s day. His emphasis on violent urges and sexual repression as the roots of dreaming now looks old-fashioned. Instead, the premise is that dreams reflect a dreamer’s quotidian experience—either because they are an epiphenomenon of the consolidation of memories or because they are a mental testing ground for ideas the dreamer may have to put into practice when awake. This resemblance between dreams and reality is dubbed the continuity hypothesis by psychologists. Data supporting it, however, are sparse. Such as exist come from clinical studies rather than examinations of people with healthy minds. And the numbers of participants involved tend to be small.

  • Is "exist" a verb here? This structure: "such as " plus the original form of a verb. Doesn't it look odd? Is it acceptable and normal?

article link :https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2020/09/05/do-dreams-reflect-reality

  • 1
    It's not the infinitive of 'exist'; it's the third person plural. 'Data' is used here as a plural. Such data as exist come from... Sep 5 '20 at 6:17

Yes, it’s a verb. A word has been elided, which is technically correct, but looks a bit odd in this context. And it’s treating “data” as a plural, which is also technically correct (the singular is actually datum), but is very unusual these days. Think of it as “Such data as exists comes from clinical studies...”.

  • Plural-data is alive and well in academic writing, which this appears to be.
    – TypeIA
    Sep 5 '20 at 6:04
  • @TypeIA It’s not academic, it’s from The Economist, whose style guide surprisingly seems not to address the question of whether “data” should be singular or plural.
    – Mike Scott
    Sep 5 '20 at 6:11
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    @MikeScott I've just checked and The Economist's style guide does address the question. However, you have to look it up under "plural forms" rather than under "data". Point 3 states: "Data and media are plural. So are whereabouts." ( bordeure.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/… ) This is the 2005 edition, so maybe it's changed, but based on this question, it probably hasn't.
    – rjpond
    Sep 5 '20 at 10:37

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