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Are companies/groups of people considered plural? What about their initialisms?

I'm unsure if I should use have (plural verb) or has (singular) in the following situations:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation have developed a prototype ...

or

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has developed a prototype ...

and when using just the initialism:

The FBI have ...

or

The FBI has ...

If I'm referring to the FBI as a group of people, then I'd obviously go with have, whereas if it's an entity on it's own, then it'd be has.

Is there a preferred/recommended use in this case?

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1  
I've found this Q/A, but it doesn't mention initialisms –  Alex L Oct 5 '12 at 6:29
    
I don't think the initialism factor determines anything about appropriateness of tense. Either way, much discussion here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/1338/… –  Merk Oct 5 '12 at 6:36
    
I'd suggest the OP read through the cited references and return to decide if he would still like to keep this question. If he has found a satisfactory answer, either this post can be closed as duplicate or the OP can post the answer he has found. –  Kris Oct 5 '12 at 6:55
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Recommendation:

The FBI have...

if you're writing/speaking British English, and

The FBI has...

if you're writing/speaking American English.

Yanks don't often think of companies/groups of people as collections of individuals, but Brits much more often do. That's my justification for my recommendation.

And if you're writing a formal paper, don't switch back and forth. Journal editors don't like it when you mix BrE and AmE idioms and spellings. They prefer consistency, if they care at all.

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Cheers - I'm Australian, so I'll go with have. You've also solved another problem for me - I now know what BE and AE stand for. (for what BE and AE stand?) –  Alex L Oct 5 '12 at 7:05
1  
what BE and AE stand for. The other structure is stilted, stuffy, stale, stodgy, and stifling. –  user21497 Oct 5 '12 at 7:28
    
this is something up with which you will not put? –  Alex L Oct 5 '12 at 8:20
1  
Strictly, surely, specifically, and 'solutely . –  user21497 Oct 5 '12 at 8:29
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Use with the initialism whatever form of the verb you'd use with the full title.

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That would effectively make this a duplicate question. –  Kris Oct 5 '12 at 6:56
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