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I keep coming across articles, especially technology related ones, where corporations are referred to in the plural. Example, "Oracle have decided to make G1 the standard ..." or "Google have become very cautious in this regard." It sounds awful. Oracle is a single company. So is Google. Why are people then referring to the entity in the plural when the only thing plural about Oracle and Google are the employees who work for them?

marked as duplicate by Tushar Raj, choster, Drew, Community Jun 17 '15 at 10:43

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  • Yes, they should. – Greg Lee Jun 16 '15 at 18:29
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    It's British. If you don't like their grammar, stop reading British articles. Also avoid all articles, even American ones, about the Utah Jazz, the New England Revolution, or the Miami Heat. – Peter Shor Jun 16 '15 at 18:43
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    "Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates" or "Microsoft were founded by Bill Gates"? If it is was, then it is inconsistent to say "Microsoft have been profitable since its founding." If it is British, alas, the yanks have got this one right! – Καrτhικ Jun 16 '15 at 18:44
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    American usage is inconsistent, too. We don't say "My family thinks that it is always right," but "My family thinks that they are always right." – Peter Shor Jun 16 '15 at 18:51
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    "It sounds awful." Maybe to you. It doesn't to a lot of people. It is quite common to refer to companies in the plural when the individuals in it are being referred to. Please do some research before asking. "It sounds awful" is too subjective and sounds like a rant. And for someone who is bothered by this, it's quite unusual to go with the radical choice of using Greek letters to spell out their username. To some, it might 'look awful'. – Tushar Raj Jun 16 '15 at 19:17
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In American English, if you're referring to a single corporation, then it would be singular, not plural.

EDIT: A less specific question answers this here

  • But if singular, then it doesn't seem so important perhaps? Apparently such corporations run our lives, so we should just puff 'em up. – Margana Jun 16 '15 at 19:09
  • It's also very annoying when the name itself implies plurality when it is a single entity. – kayleeFrye_onDeck Jun 16 '15 at 19:12
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    @kayleeFrye_onDeck Such as "Five Guys"? But saying Five Guys is a burger joint feels more natural and correct than 'Five Guys' are a burger joint. No, five guys are five guys. Or 'Michael & Sons' are a carpentry shop. No, they are people! Michael & Sons is a carpentry shop. – Καrτhικ Jun 16 '15 at 19:41

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