Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm looking to refer to a group of facts and I'm not sure what the best term to use for them would be. From what I can tell there isn't any sort of standard collective noun for facts, so it's going to be a more a question of what the better way of stating it would be.

To illustrate, a collection of pages may make up a book, so a book of pages makes sense.

But what makes sense for a collection of facts?

Edit 1: to clarify here, I am looking to have the blank filled in: a _ of facts.

Edit 2: The context is that there are a large amount of small facts. Things like "The battle of Hastings was fought in 1066". I need to refer to various set collections of these facts when speaking to people, and so need a collective term for them. If each fact were a card, I would call a set collection of them a deck. So the use would be in a sentence like this: When I was learning history I found John's very useful.

share|improve this question
    
"Facts" are not things, or at least not physical things, and therefore must be referred to metaphorically. How you categorize and group the facts, and how the facts are perceived and described -- by you and by others -- depend very much on what metaphor you use. For facts, and ideas generally, the Conduit Metaphor is common, for instance. –  John Lawler Dec 26 '11 at 19:32
1  
Technically, something whose elements are individual facts is referred to as information, as in 'latest information about sth.'. The trick is to embed the word information in a suitable sentence to convey the meaning clearly and unambiguously for the context. –  Kris Dec 27 '11 at 5:34
    
@Kris, you should put that in an answer. –  Monica Cellio Dec 27 '11 at 16:38
1  
This question still needs more context. Right now, we have no way to choose the best answer between all the suggestions, because it really depends on what sort of facts and what sort of collection of them we're talking about. (More possibilities: data, stats, statistics, information...) –  Marthaª Dec 27 '11 at 19:28
    
@MonicaCellio: Tx, posted! –  Kris Dec 28 '11 at 5:33
show 1 more comment

8 Answers

For empirical facts, you sometimes see data.

For more diverse facts, while it's not a single word, body of knowledge might be what you're looking for.

share|improve this answer
    
Empirical facts? whatever is that, please? Empirical, facts, data, body of knowledge ... these are as different from each other as can be. –  Kris Dec 27 '11 at 5:36
2  
@Kris, see: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empirical . Empirical facts are observations (as opposed to deductions), so you see those kinds of facts in research reports, for instance. –  Monica Cellio Dec 27 '11 at 16:36
    
Facts happen to be empirical when derived from empirical data. Strictly speaking, it is the data that is empirical, which forms the basis for the facts. However, generally speaking, facts are understood/expected to be based on empirical data and not logically derived. I could convince you of something by way of logic but you may not accept it as a fact; if I show a concrete/ tangible proof, you will readily do so. So I said empirical facts is kind of stating the obvious. –  Kris Dec 28 '11 at 5:41
    
@Kris, I agree with your precision, but note that people use "facts" in a broader sense. I was trying to address that -- if OP means empirical data then use data, else for more general stuff body of knowledge would work better. –  Monica Cellio Dec 28 '11 at 16:28
    
Well, I could convince you of something by way of logic but... :) –  Kris Dec 29 '11 at 3:54
add comment

Consider brief, précis, survey, overview, conspectus, digest, compilation, compendium, collation, corpus. A brief, for example, is "An attorney's legal argument in written form..." but formerly was also used as "A summary, précis or epitome; an abridgement or abstract", which all are forms of collections of facts. Collation is a surprisingly versatile word, the relevant meaning here being "A collection, a gathering" rather than "5. Any light meal or snack" or more-specialized "2. The Collationes Patrum ...", "3. A reading held from the work mentioned above...", and "4. The light meal taken by monks after the reading service mentioned above". For survey the relevant meaning is "A particular view; an examination ... of all the parts or particulars of a thing", which is how it is used in the phrase survey article, "... a paper that is a work of synthesis, ... a survey or summary of a field".

Update 1 I disagree in general with the comment

Each of the above defines the way the facts have been compiled, the nature of the source, or something qualifie[d]. None of them seems to be an unqualified substitute for 'a collection of facts'. – Kris

but will address it only for compendium. Wiktionary shows "1. A short, complete summary; an abstract" and "2. A list or collection of various items". To a question like "Have you got anything about it?", one could reasonably reply either of

Here is a compendium of facts for you to look at.
Here is a compendium for you to look at.

but in the former "of facts" seems redundant.

Note, compendious is an adjective for which Wiktionary shows "1. containing a subset..., succinctly described; abridged and summarized" and "2. briefly describing a body of knowledge". Certainly the latter sense is appropriate for "collection of facts". On the other hand, the definition and synonyms of it inject a qualification of brevity.

share|improve this answer
    
Each of the above defines the way the facts have been compiled, the nature of the source, or something qualifier. None of them seems to be an unqualified substitute for 'a collection of facts'. –  Kris Dec 27 '11 at 5:38
    
@Kris, see update –  jwpat7 Dec 27 '11 at 16:10
add comment

More simply, you could just say, the truth.

share|improve this answer
1  
Oh, if only everything called the truth could be backed by facts! :-) Seriously, though, using this might bring connotations you didn't intend. –  Monica Cellio Dec 27 '11 at 17:10
add comment

Technically, something whose elements are individual facts is referred to as information, as in 'latest information about sth.'. The trick is to embed the word information in a suitable sentence to convey the meaning clearly and unambiguously for the context.

share|improve this answer
add comment

This page suggests a miscellany of facts.

Since nothing seems to be definitive, you could probably make one up that fits in with what you are writing about:

  • an inconvenience of facts (if you're Al Gore).
  • an over-abundance of facts (if you're confused by their number).
share|improve this answer
add comment

Rudiments may be the answer to your question, the first simple facts or rules of anything. E.g.

to learn the rudiments of cookery.

share|improve this answer
    
Rudiments is specifically the basics, i.e. the bare minimum you must know about a topic before you can talk intelligently about it. It does not apply to any random collection of facts. –  Marthaª Dec 27 '11 at 19:26
add comment

A collection of facts, if large enough, may be called an archive.

The third definition on dictionary.com is "any extensive record or collection of data."

M-W's second definition is "a repository or collection especially of information."

share|improve this answer
add comment

"Facts collection."

Since it is a collection of facts.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.