Contemporary essays, fiction, and opinion offered regularly by author Anne Brandt.

Question for the week
What part of speech is objections?
Rules of the Games
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Howard, an attorney, asks...
I have two questions and both involve the use of "do" or "does". What rights do/does the government have in the technical data submitted by the contractor? The technical data submitted by Buick do/does not have any markings.
Anne answers...
The answers to your questions follow: In the first sentence, the correct answer is "What right does the government have . . . " since government is a singular noun and requires a singular verb. In the second sentence, the correct answer is "The technical data submitted by Buick do not have any markings." The reason is that data is a plural noun and requires a plural verb. The plural verb in this case is 'do'. It sounds strange to the ear because most people don't know that data is plural for datum.
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