Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 7th May 2008 21:24 UTC
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RE[5]: Pants treated as plural
by mallard on Fri 9th May 2008 08:00 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Pants treated as plural"
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I guess it falls under the same sort of reason why those of the 'commonwealth' (NZ, Aussie, UK and possibly Canada) tend to refer to a organisation and use are, "Microsoft are a large organisation" - are being used in terms of plurality, meaning, the plurality of the components which make it up.

Actually, here in the UK, it is much more normal to say "Microsoft IS a large organisation", (although the "are" form is not unheard of) however, if we talk about the activities of said organisation, we might say "Microsoft ARE working on X, Y and Z". In addition these would be "their" activities.

Basically, when speaking about a collective in an abstract way, referring the the collective itself, it can be referred to as singular, since we are talking about one collective, however, when using the name of the collective as shorthand for it's members, plural is used, so "Microsoft is a large organisation", but "Microsoft are developing Windows 7".

IMHO, I am not a language expert.

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