I'm struggling with grammar and the name of a group of clinics; let's say that there are five dental clinics colocated in the same building, and the name of that group is Foo Dental Clinics. There's a single entrance, a single greeting desk, but five distinct dental clinics beyond the main entrance.

Foo Dental Clinics is located at 56 Foo Street, or Foo Dental Clinics are located at 56 Foo Street?

This is for an audience where the convention is American English: collective nouns generally take a singular verb (Microsoft is a company). It's the fact that the collective noun seems plural that's messing me up.

This question establishes that American convention for collective nouns (Google, Congress) are treated as singular, but the fact that this collective noun appears to be plural, and the plural of the things it encompasses, makes this a bit harder to figure out.

  • To my American eye, if the proper noun is plural, treat it as singular. If you've formed the plural of a singular proper noun, treat as plural. So I'd use (and expect) "Clinics is" if "Clinics" is part of the company name, and "Clinics are" only if you're talking about multiple companies (actual or otherwise) with that name. FWIW, I can confirm "Microsoft are", "team are", etc. look wrong to me. – Patrick87 Sep 18 '14 at 14:29
  • In this particular case, the verb is singular, as it refers to a business establishment, a group, as you have noted correctly. However, the purpose of the statement also matters. If you are stressing that all the individual clinics of the group are located there, use the plural, with perhaps the all also included for clarity; on the other hand, if you are referring to the cluster of several clinics, use the singular. – Kris Sep 18 '14 at 15:12
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    @Patrick87 This one is tricky. The name of the business is in the plural, but that should not really matter as such. However, the sentence wants to state that the individual clinics are (all) located at the given address. Both singular and plural are involved. – Kris Sep 18 '14 at 15:14
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    United Colours of Benetton is the winner, with 137 hits on Google, compared to 31 for United Colours of Benetton are... – FumbleFingers Sep 18 '14 at 15:55
  • I consulted that question first, FumbleFingers, but it doesn't address the more nuanced question of a collective noun that is itself plural; answers address American vs. British English. This question concerns American English conventions for collective nouns that appear plural on sight. – JeanSibelius Sep 18 '14 at 19:46

Foo Dental Clinics is located at 56 Foo Street, but the Foo dental clinics are located at 56 Foo Street.

The first case is the name of a group, the second case describes several businesses located at the same address.

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