I want to ask, what/which data different model combinations are using, so do I have to say:

Which data is used by the model combinations?


What data is used by the model combinations?
  • 2
    Both are correct. It is worth noting that some consider data a mass noun taking a singular verb, is, but some consider it plural and would urge you to use are. – bib Aug 6 '13 at 16:45

Which generally suggests a set of possible options, but what, on the other hand, allows for arbitrary selection. Additionally, your current consideration of data as singular is fine; however, you will need to pair it with a quantifier, as in data-set, if you intend to opt for the "choice from possible options mode".

Hence I suggest one of the following.

Which data-set is used by the model combinations?
What data are used by the model combinations?

The former asks which of a few choices in data-providers are being used, the latter asks what data-points, chosen from any in existence, are being utilized.

Again, the reason for the first sentence being singular and the second plural was to match the idea of prior defined choices vs. arbitrary sample. Merriam-Webster describes this distinction as between a plural noun and a singular mass noun.

  • 1
    +1 I wondered if I was over-analyzing this but you nailed it. You may wish to include a reference though. – Jack Ryan Aug 6 '13 at 16:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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