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

On Thursday 15 May 2008 12:02:42 martin f krafft wrote:
> also sprach Graham Cobb <g+debian@cobb.uk.net> [2008.05.15.1140 +0100]:
> > 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".
> Debian has never elected a leader, its project members have. That's
> the problem.

No, that isn't the issue, I am afraid.  In my speech, Debian elect a leader, 
just as HSBC appoint a new CFO.  It makes no difference whether there are one 
or more people involved in the decision -- or the process used -- the entity 
is corporate and hence plural.  When Debian want to appoint a leader, their 
project members vote.

The case of Debian IS a little bit different from some others because the 
term "Debian" can also mean the software, not just the corporate body.  The 
software is singular.  In the case of commercial companies, the company and 
the product are normally different ("Microsoft are a corporation", "Microsoft 
Windows is a software product").  Similarly Debian are a volunteer 
organisation and Debian is also an operating system.


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