I came across this while checking on some sports news:

The team will be officially on the market next week, according to a league source. The Hawks have retained investment banking firm Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to handle the sale process. The firm will gather and vetting prospective buyers. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Is it all right to use the word "firm" in here, since there are two companies followed, should it be "firms"? I am not sure if both are ok. And in the last sentence, clearly it should be "vet",not "vetting", am I right?

  • It is at best very poorly constructed. Were Inner Circle Sports not an "investment banking firm" (it apparently is) it would have been more proper to say, eg, "... banking firm Goldman Sachs and ad agency Inner Circle Sports ...". The second "firm" should definitely be plural, since "firm" can apply to any sort of multi-employee company. And, it of course should be "vet", not "vetting". Hard to believe a "respected" newspaper has such lousy writing (though I guess you have to make an allowance for the fact that this was probably in the sports pages). – Hot Licks Jan 3 '15 at 1:53

It's "firms" and "vet": The firms will gather and vet prospective buyers.

You'll also want to use "firms" in the preceding sentence: The Hawks have retained investment banking firms Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to handle the sale process.

"Firms" is plural because there are multiple firms (Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports) and "vet" is the present tense form of the verb fitting with the tense of its sentence ("will gather").

  • 1
    I started writing an answer that disagreed on the ground that Goldman Sachs is a banking firm and Inner Circle Sports is not. On investigation I found that they are both banking firms, so you are correct. You may wish to support your answer with those facts and some references that support them. – andy256 Jan 3 '15 at 1:35
  • Yes,I also googled and they are two firms.Thanks a lot for the answers guys. Now I know that newspapers make grammar mistakes all the time...lol... – Valerie Jan 3 '15 at 1:48
  • Not just grammar mistakes; there's a reason that The Guardian's nickname is "The Grauniad". – Jon Hanna Jan 3 '15 at 2:33

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