Data "are"

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A note on the word DATA, which means facts.  But first, a note on the word people, which means persons.  This word is plural.  It means more than one person.  Since it is plural, the following sentence would be wrong: "Those people is nice."  The sentence is wrong because people is plural, and the verb that goes with people must agree in number with the noun people.  The word "are" does the job, like "Those people are nice."

The sentence "That person is nice" is fine, because person is singular and its verb "is" is meant for singular nouns.

The point of this is that the word data is plural, like people, so you cannot correctly say "That satellite tracking data is nice."  You could say "That satellite tracking datum is nice," if you're talking about just one piece of information, because datum is singular, like person is singular.  That is why you will read sentences like "These data are too hot to handle."

If you use the word data correctly, you will be one up on people like network newscasters, Presidents of the United States, and just about everyone else, who think the word data is singular.  On the other hand, if you use it incorrectly, probably no one will notice!

This has been a public service announcement from the language police.