It was closed for asking for a scientific reasoning, but that's not what the question is seeking. In fact, science plays no part in the actual answer at all. Data corrects Riker when Riker made an ostensibly scientifically valid statement. This comes from the early seasons of TNG, where Data was really anal about correcting everyone about everything. The question was why Data would do that. It's ultimately a grammar question, not a science question, and it's a pretty arcane one to boot (it's not something your average person would know).
Apparently my reopen vote expired without success.