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Is a company always plural, or are small companies singular?

I have two statements like this:

  • The committee has approved expenditure of hundred crores.
  • The committee have gone on holiday.

The uses of has and have in the above statements confuse me.

Can anyone explain me why has has been used in the first sentence, why I shouldn't use have in the place of has in first sentence, and vice versa in the second statement?

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marked as duplicate by Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Jasper, aedia λ, simchona, Daniel Sep 12 '11 at 19:12

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

A similar question was already asked here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/1338/… – Philoto Sep 12 '11 at 14:31
up vote 2 down vote accepted

In British English, either verb could be used in either sentence (not in US English, where "The committee have" is frowned on in any context). I guess that Indian English aligns with British here, but I don't know.

There is a small difference in meaning, to do with whether the speaker is thinking of the committee as a unit or as a collection of members.

"Have" is more likely than "has" in the "gone on holiday" case, because the separate members will usually have gone to different places from each other; but "has" is still possible, if for example the sentence is in response to a question about why some piece of committee work has not happened.

I would says that "has" and "have" are equally likely in the first case.

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Yep. Just to be clear; "the committee has approved..." because in this case the committee is one unit - an "it" not a "they". "The committee have gone on holiday" because here we're talking about a collection of people - a "they" not an "it". – Waggers Sep 12 '11 at 14:39

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