Using a company name with verbs – as the plural or singular?


I know that it’s correct to consider ‘police’ as a ‘collective’ noun and say
Police have/ are/etc.… (not is/has/…)

On the other side, I myself normally and carelessly use both
‘Microsoft has changed…’ and ‘Microsoft have changed’, but I’m not too literate. :slight_smile:

But I still suppose there should be a formal rule for a name of a company – how to consider it, as a plural or singular noun?

British Gas [has / have] today announced…

Or does it depend on the context?


It usually depends on how the speaker is thinking of the company-- as a single corporate entity or as a group of employees. I would guess the more usual is the singular, but this may be one of those BrE - AmE dichotomies.

Hi tamara,

Yes, you’re right about the context. The question or whether you make the verb singular of plural really depends on the relationship between the speaker/writer and the noun in question. In its simplest form:

My school/team/company ARE doing well

Your school/team/company IS doing badly.

It depends very much whether you consider the noun to be an entity (then it would be singular) or a group of people/individuals (then it would be plural).