1. stonecold
    Offline

    stonecold Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0

    They or it

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by stonecold, Jul 31, 2010.

    When I'm talking about a company like Microsoft, can I refer to the Microsoft as they or it? Explanations?
     
  2. BlueWolf
    Offline

    BlueWolf Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Germany
    'Company' is a single noun, and therefore an 'it' - 'companies' is plural, and therefore 'they'.
     
  3. Manav
    Offline

    Manav Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Imphal, India
    As mentioned above, 'a company like Microsoft' is singular... so use 'it'. You use 'they' when you refer to the people working in Microsoft, products it produces or services it provides etc.. examples:

    Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates. It is one of the biggest companies in the world now.
    Microsoft hires people from all over the world. They are a formidable work force.


    Edit: Thanks islander
     
  4. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    It is one of the biggest companies in the world.
     
  5. BlueWolf
    Offline

    BlueWolf Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Germany
    I would have said, They are one of the biggest companies in the World - primarily because 'companies' is plural, as in my previous post.
     
  6. Banzai
    Offline

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    12,871
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Yes, but the it in this case would refer only to microsoft, which is singular.
     
  7. BlueWolf
    Offline

    BlueWolf Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Germany
    I guess it all depends upon the context the statement is used in then, because singular and plural, are always singular and plural, and therefore 'it' and 'they'.
     
  8. Tiki
    Offline

    Tiki Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    USA
    Yes Context! In the following sentences or chapters are you going to be calling "it" or "they". In the other sentences talking about it/them which one seems a better fit. It might be necessary to get it all out, then go back and pick the right ones.
     
  9. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,881
    Likes Received:
    10,062
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    This is not correct.

    In the sentence "They are one of the biggest companies in the world," the initial they is not modifying the word companies, but instead the word one.

    They are one of the biggest companies in the world.

    Hence, the sentence is incorrect because they are one in this context makes no sense. The preposition of is a boundary of syntax. The subject (it or Microsoft) is not going to directly modify words to the other side of the preposition.

    The correct word is it. It replaces Microsoft, a singular noun.

    Microsoft [it] is one of the biggest companies in the world.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. BlueWolf
    Offline

    BlueWolf Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Germany
    Hey! You learn something new everyday - cheers, ace.
     
  11. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    Microsoft is actually a collective noun i.e. a noun that is singular in form but refers to a group of people.

    We can find other more general examples of collective nouns. Ones we frequently argue about when marking exams are:
    army, class, committee, crew, family, jury, police, staff, team.

    In British English, when a group like this is considered as a single unit, the collective noun is used with a singular verb and singular pronouns, e.g.
    The jury has reached its decision.

    But when the focus is on the individual members of the group, British English uses a plural verb and plural pronouns, e.g.
    The class have been working all week. This is like saying The people in the class have been working all week.

    BUT: The determiner in front of a singular collective noun is always singular: this family, never these family (although when the collective noun is plural, it takes a plural determiner: these committees).
     
  12. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Here's an interesting case:

    We say "The Dodgers are playing the Yankees."

    But, referring to the same game, do we say "LA is playing New York"?
     
  13. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    americans do, but i believe the brits would say 'are'...
     

Share This Page