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seacue
24th Mar 2005, 15:01
Dear assembled experts,

One of the things that divides the USA and the UK in our "common" language is whether a company is singular or plural.

The UK view appears to be that a company is a cohort of people and thus plural.

In the USA a company is legally a "person" as I understand it and thus singular.

The USAian says "Boeing has..." while the UKian says "Airbus have..."

Do I have the logic corect?

Do all the other ex-colonies follow the UK custom?

seacue

Jerricho
24th Mar 2005, 15:08
Doesn't it depend upon the "company", ie a Sole trader, partnership limited company etc??

forget
24th Mar 2005, 15:09
Company is singular no matter how many empoyees. So is a government. Ignore the BBC when they say the 'government have'..... They're wrong.

BlueDiamond
24th Mar 2005, 15:10
It's a singular entity; one company, two companies.

You would say, "Our company has returned a profit ..." or "Their companies have made a loss this year ..."

DubTrub
24th Mar 2005, 16:05
...and "a company of soldiers" is singular, but "two companies of soldiers rode to engage the enemy" is plural

etc

[edited to add that I am not related to bluediamond, even though (s)he is also from beyond the black stump. ..ish, anyways.]

Rainboe
24th Mar 2005, 16:36
'A Company collapsed today......' ......it's singular!

We have an occasional problem with working out whether something is singular or plural- can youimagine giving everything a sex? That's what they do in Europe for some reason- sex mad over there they are. Can you imagine trying to remember if a table is masculine or feminine? What sex is a sewing machine.....a saucepan.......set of spice jars.......a road cat's eye? Very weird, isn't it? How the hell do they remember? I tried to learn foreign once......totally lost it when I came to six different ways to say 'a'. That is why Hollywood English is taking over the world (until Mandarin takes over from that).

ORAC
24th Mar 2005, 17:15
But two is company...... ;)

Air-Geko
24th Mar 2005, 18:09
...and three is a party!

Air-Geko

Tallbloke
24th Mar 2005, 18:15
"Boeing has..." while the UKian says "Airbus have..." are both correct, if one is the present tense and one is the past tense.

acbus1
24th Mar 2005, 18:20
Singular or Plural?

I've worked for loads that were peurile. :rolleyes:

Onan the Clumsy
24th Mar 2005, 19:00
Is that "loads" or "load"?

seacue
24th Mar 2005, 19:14
Tallbloke
quoted me:"Boeing has..." while the UKian says "Airbus have..."
and added [they] are both correct, if one is the present tense and one is the past tense.

I hereby rejoinder with: Which is present, which is past?

AFAIK To have:

[present tense singular]
I have, you have, (s)he has ... Boeing has....
[present tense plural]
we have, you have, they have ... Airbus have ....

[past tense singular]
I had, you had, (s)he had
[past tense plural]
we had, you had, they had

The general concensus seems to be that a "company" is singular ... but then why do I read otherwise in British text .. or is it just the Beeb and it's followers?

seacue
"no nit left unpicked"

acbus1
24th Mar 2005, 20:04
Tallbloke
quoted me:"Boeing has..." while the UKian says "Airbus have..."
and added [they] are both correct, if one is the present tense and one is the past tense.

I hereby rejoinder with: Which is present, which is past?

AFAIK To have:
[present tense singular]
I have, you have, (s)he has ... Boeing has....
[present tense plural]
we have, you have, they have ... Airbus have ....

[past tense singular]
I had, you had, (s)he had
[past tense plural]
we had, you had, they had

The general concensus seems to be that a "company" is singular ... but then why do I read otherwise in British text .. or is it just the Beeb and it's followers
Erm........

:{

My brain hurts/my brains hurt/my brain hurt/my brains hurts............loads!

Bern Oulli
25th Mar 2005, 09:55
OK, Pedant Mode ON.
Words such as Government, Company, committee, group, herd, jury, tribe, party (as in political), union (i.e. trade union), are all collective nouns. A collective noun is a singular word denoting many individuals or objects.
Quoting from my much thumbed book "Oxford English - the Essential Guide", I find the following:-
"It is normal for collective nouns, being singular, to be followed by singular verbs and pronouns:
The Government is determined to beat inflation, as it has promised.
Their family is huge, it consists of five boys and three girls.

The singular verb and pronouns are preferable unless the collective is clearly and unmistakeably used to refer to separate individuals rather than to a united body, e.g.
The Brigade of Guards is on parade
The Brigade of Guards are above average height."

There is a some more concerning relative clauses - the use of which + singular verb or who + plural verb, but I think that is enough to be going on with (pedantically that should be enough with which to be going on - I think).

Pedant Mode OFF.

Tonic Please
25th Mar 2005, 11:11
I've just spent an hour memorising a few of the 14 tenses in French, and during my break I get subjected to the English Present simple and Past Simple thanks to acbus.

:{ :{

Oh, and company is singular, it's the people who make it plural, otherwise, why do we have the word companies to mean more than one company? Case closed me thinks.