Date and Time: Plural or Singular?

Is the phrase “date and time” plural or singular?

If you Google this question, you’ll get a number of conflicting answers, so I will simply offer my best thoughts on the subject.

On the surface, when someone asks you to verify a date and time, or suggests one, it seems logical to some of us to say that “the date and time are” because they seem to be two separate items. Wouldn’t we say “the man and woman are…” or “the table and couches are…”?

But the phrase “date and time” is becoming a singular item in our thoughts and communications, and it’s fine now to say “the date and time is…”.

Think of it this way: The date is the broader term, and the time is a subset of the date; the time is set within the date. So we are expressing a single moment— a time that happens to be set within a certain date, and this is therefore a single entity.

English is such a fluid language, and we must realize we’re in the middle of a transition from a plural to a singular. (Some folks are used to considering them as two separate entities, so they will continue to use the plural. Be kind to them.)

But for the rest of us—the date and time is….!

My thanks to Clint Morgan and his daughter Michelle for this wonderful suggestion!

Stint and stent

These two words are used interchangeably and wrongly by too many people! We simply have to end the insanity today—and you can help! (Thank you—I feel better….)

A stint usually refers to a specific period of time dedicated to a specific action. For instance, “I did a stint as a hospital technician back in 2012.” Think “I did a stretch as…” or “I did a turn as a go-fer at that company when I was in college.” That’s a stint.

A stent, on the other hand (or in the other artery) is a mesh medical device for keeping bodily tubes open. They put stents in people who have blocked arteries to increase blood flow.

So unless someone gets shrunk down to Incredible Shrinking Man size and is implanted in someone’s artery for a temporary job, we can’t say that there’s a stint in there. If arterial health is the goal, that would be a stent.

Bottom line: Stints are what we have spent some time doing; stents go inside people.

A lot/allot/alot

A mistake here is always a matter of written grammar error, as all these sound the same when we speak.

Many things equals a lot of things—two words. There is no such word as alot. A and lot should always be written as two separate words.

(Then there’s allot. That means to assign or allocate or apportion something, or to give it as a share of something. For example, “Line up, and I will allot each of you your piece of cake.”

To repeat, don’t ever write alot. Ain’t no such word. : ). If you are referring to many things, it’s two words: a and lot.