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I'm unsure when a subject is considered plural, and when not.

Especially here:

Williams aim to win at the next race.

Here, Williams is a team, and I have always through this is considered plural, but I'm seeing different uses all over the place. What's the rule there?

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Oct 1 '14 at 21:38

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  • 1
    Teams and other groups are more likely to be treated as singular in American English and as plural in British. Please see Are collective nouns always plural, or are certain ones singular?, Is the usage of “are” correct when referring to a team/group/band?, Is “staff” plural?, and others. – choster Oct 1 '14 at 21:01
  • 'All over the place' rather disqualifies 'there'. Seriously, this tends to be a regional choice, though no one selection can reasonably be labelled 'ungrammatical'. Some people use 'surface agreement' (the team is), while some use notional agreement (the team are all agreed that they have to win the next race = the members of the team are all agreed that they have to win the next race BUT the Blue Bull team was founded in 1987). – Edwin Ashworth Oct 1 '14 at 21:06
  • @choster: The second part of your statement is false. Teams are more likely to be afforded either singular or plural concord depending on context by many in the UK. Thus 'The team was founded in 1867' but 'The team were arguing amongst themselves': is the team (etc) being regarded as a complex unity, or is the term being used as a deleted form of 'the team members'. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 1 '14 at 21:07
  • @EdwinAshworth True enough; I was trying too hard to keep the character count down. – choster Oct 1 '14 at 21:09
  • @choster: I sympathise. I could often do with say 200 more. (I don't know whether I'd have avoided some downvotes had this been available.) – Edwin Ashworth Oct 1 '14 at 21:14