2

Are companies/groups of people considered plural? What about their initialisms?

I'm unsure if I should use have (plural verb) or has (singular) in the following situations:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation have developed a prototype ...

or

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has developed a prototype ...

and when using just the initialism:

The FBI have ...

or

The FBI has ...

If I'm referring to the FBI as a group of people, then I'd obviously go with have, whereas if it's an entity on it's own, then it'd be has.

Is there a preferred/recommended use in this case?

3
  • 1
    I've found this Q/A, but it doesn't mention initialisms
    – Alex L
    Oct 5, 2012 at 6:29
  • I don't think the initialism factor determines anything about appropriateness of tense. Either way, much discussion here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/1338/…
    – Merk
    Oct 5, 2012 at 6:36
  • I'd suggest the OP read through the cited references and return to decide if he would still like to keep this question. If he has found a satisfactory answer, either this post can be closed as duplicate or the OP can post the answer he has found.
    – Kris
    Oct 5, 2012 at 6:55

2 Answers 2

2

Recommendation:

The FBI have...

if you're writing/speaking British English, and

The FBI has...

if you're writing/speaking American English.

Yanks don't often think of companies/groups of people as collections of individuals, but Brits much more often do. That's my justification for my recommendation.

And if you're writing a formal paper, don't switch back and forth. Journal editors don't like it when you mix BrE and AmE idioms and spellings. They prefer consistency, if they care at all.

4
  • Cheers - I'm Australian, so I'll go with have. You've also solved another problem for me - I now know what BE and AE stand for. (for what BE and AE stand?)
    – Alex L
    Oct 5, 2012 at 7:05
  • 1
    what BE and AE stand for. The other structure is stilted, stuffy, stale, stodgy, and stifling.
    – user21497
    Oct 5, 2012 at 7:28
  • this is something up with which you will not put?
    – Alex L
    Oct 5, 2012 at 8:20
  • 1
    Strictly, surely, specifically, and 'solutely .
    – user21497
    Oct 5, 2012 at 8:29
2

Use with the initialism whatever form of the verb you'd use with the full title.

1
  • That would effectively make this a duplicate question.
    – Kris
    Oct 5, 2012 at 6:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.