If I am referring to a magazine as an entity comprising its editor and staff, is it correct to say, 'The magazine are keen for submissions' or 'The magazine is keen for submissions'?

(I'm correcting an Australian English text, where they use The magazine are... when referring to the corporate entity.)

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    isn't magazines the plural? – Wottensprels Jul 14 '15 at 7:24
  • What I mean to say is that the people behind the magazine are keen for submissions (i.e. the editors - plural) since the magazine itself is an inanimate object! Do you see what I mean? – Croppers Jul 14 '15 at 7:35
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    This is a duplicate, but it will take some time to locate the other question. In the meantime, a highly-related question is one about police. The difference is a dialectal one: some dialects take magazine as the singular entity; some take it as metonymy for the staff of the publication, when it may take a plural verb. That said, you should edit your comment into the question: it's important context. – Andrew Leach Jul 14 '15 at 7:37
  • Thanks Andrew. It's clearly a subject of some contention. Since I'm editing a document for emerging writers I need to get this right! The document has been written (in Australian English) using the plural, 'The magazine are…' and I'm questioning whether I should correct this to 'is' or not. – Croppers Jul 14 '15 at 7:42
  • In the US it would be is, but the Brits and Aussies often don't agree with us on this sort of thing. – Hot Licks Jul 14 '15 at 12:13

I've never heard "The magazine" used as a plural in this way, and Google Ngrams doesn't return any results. However the name of the publication, like the name of a company, is often used to mean the people behind the name. So one might say "The News Of The World were hacking phones", as one might say "Google are recruiting". Obviously this is not to imply that all staff at News Of The World were hacking phones!

(Interestingly, some groups are more likely than others to be referred to in the plural. E.g. people are far more likely to say "Google are" than "Facebook are", compared with "Google/Facebook is". Perhaps some companies are viewed subconsciously as pluralistic and others as more monolithic and homogeneous).

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    Isn't this something that often differs between American and British English? I think Americans usually treat a company name as singular, British treat is as plural. I'd never say Google are recruiting. – Barmar Jul 14 '15 at 9:27
  • Yes, @Barmar, it is a UK/US difference; but mikeagg is capturing more subtleties beyond this. My first thought was that of course the magazine can be plural in UK English; but like mikeagg I don't find it natural, though I do find it natural if you substitute the name, such as New Scientist or GQ. I recall a mention in Pinker's The Language Instinct where after quoting a girl's flood of words he remarks that her My bank are awful is grammatical in British, but not North American, English. – Colin Fine Jul 14 '15 at 9:46
  • @Colin: But this isn't British English; it's Australian English. – Peter Shor Jun 20 '16 at 15:36
  • True, @PeterShor. Australian English tends to follow British more than American where they are different, but I don't know about this case. – Colin Fine Jun 20 '16 at 16:30

Unlike the words "company", "team", "group" (and possibly others), which can mean the single entity or the group of people, there is no definition of "magazine" which means "the people who work on the magazine".

Therefore there's no ambiguity: you always use the singular form, ie "is keen".

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