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Re: 3rd person singular neutral X 3rd person plural ?

On 5/15/08, Graham Cobb <g+debian@cobb.uk.net> wrote:
> On Thursday 15 May 2008 09:54:11 martin f krafft wrote:
>> also sprach Andre Felipe Machado <andremachado@techforce.com.br>
> [2008.05.15.0211 +0100]:
>> > A- third person singular neutral (it, the Debian Project)
>> > B- third person plural (they, the Debian Project)
>> One project, two projects. It, they.
> It is not as simple as that.  I realise the original questioner won't like
> the
> answer but the answer is "it depends".  Both of these are natural to me
> (native British English):
> Debian is 10 years old. [Subject is singular]
> Debian have elected a new leader. [Subject is plural]
> In fact, I would have no trouble saying "The Debian project is 10 years old
> and they have elected a new leader".
> In UK English (but not in US), "corporate" bodies are plural, at least when
> viewed as a multi-headed entity.  A Brit would say: "My bank have
> over-charged me" (an American would say "my bank has over-charged me").
> On the other hand, a Brit would probably say "HSBC is a FTSE 100 company",
> although some might use the plural even in that case (and it is still "a
> company"!).  And just to confuse you, I would say "My bank is HSBC" and
> are my bank"!

To confuse things even further, some Commonwealth dialects (e.g.
Australian English) have adopted the use of the singular for corporate
bodies generally ('my bank has overcharged me'), but have retained the
use of the plural for some circumstances (e.g. 'BHP Billiton are the
world leaders in mining')

I'd love to find a comprehensive comparison of British, American, and
Australian/NZ/Canadian grammar on this sort of stuff.

Andrew Donnellan <><                   ajdlinuxATgmailDOTcom
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