Singular verbs with company names

Subject: Singular verbs with company names
From: "Geoff Hart (by way of \"Eric J. Ray\" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>)" <ght -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998 06:34:24 -0600

Cassandra Parker wondered about the use of singular and plural
verb forms with company names: <<Intermead [the company name]
reserve(s) the right to...>>

The answer is that both are correct, and the best choice depends on
which side of the ocean you're on and whether you want to treat the
company as a single individual or as a group of individuals. In the
U.K., usage tends more towards treating the company name as
representing a group of individuals, thus "Intermed (we/they)
reserve"; in North American, the company is more commonly treated as
a singular entity, thus "Intermed (it) reserves". I've no idea what
the prevailing usage is in other areas, but it likely follows one of
those two patterns. Even within an area, there's considerable
variation, and you'll commonly see writers switching between modes
depending on how they wish to portray the company. I'd say the main
trick is to go with prevailing usage for your audience, and be
consistent within that usage, at least for any given document.
--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

When an idea is wanting, a word can always be found to take its place.--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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