A company can have many employees. Yet in law and in grammar it is a single entity.

Always use singular verbs with companies, even when the company name sounds plural. The same applies to countries, political parties, governments and partnerships.

All are singular.

Some people think using they instead of it makes writing more personal. It does. But that’s not the point.

Marketing departments like to describe companies are plural because there’s a point of connection. It makes us think we are dealing with human beings.

That may be true. Even if the company in question are a bunch of great people who really are fun to do business with, that’s not the point. It’s still a singular legal and grammatical entity.

Unclear meaning

Yet incorrect grammar makes your writing and, more important, your meaning, unclear.

If you read a company described as plural in print on a website, that’s a clear sign that the writer, editor or publisher is second rate. You might do well to be wary of what else you read. If they don’t know enough to get simple grammar correct, it’s unlikely they did a professional job of fact-checking.

When you write they do you mean the company or all the people who work for the company? If you mean the employees, then make this clear.

Resist all temptation to treat companies as plurals. That goes for countries, political parties, governments and other organisations.

5 thoughts on “Companies are singular

  1. […] Writing style tips: 1. Companies are singular (billbennettnz.wordpress.com) […]

Comments are closed.