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  1. #1
    Nordic Bill is offline Member
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    Default An airline - singular or plural?

    Just wondering what would be the most correct number to use in a verb declension when mentioning an airline by name.
    Eg. "The airline is still in operation" speaks for itself. But what happens when an actual name is applied?:
    "Finnair has sold all its DC-10's"
    or
    "Finnair have sold all their DC-10's"
    As an airline buff, I find my lack of confidence with this point very disturbing!
    I hope someone can help.
    Rgs,
    Bill

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: An airline - singular or plural?

    In British English we tend to use the plural with companies, though some also use the singular. American speakers tend to use the singular for collective nouns. You could use either. I'd say 'Finnair have'

  3. #3
    Nordic Bill is offline Member
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    Default Re: An airline - singular or plural?

    Thanks for clearing that one up for me. As doubtful as I have been all these years, subconsciously switching back and forth between singular and plural, at least I can feel good about one thing: I've never been wrong!

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: An airline - singular or plural?

    Switch away, in BrE at least.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: An airline - singular or plural?

    There is sometimes a small difference; it's usually best to use the singular when you mean the company as a whole, and the plural when you mean individuals within the company -- or any other organisation.

    Consider these two sentences:

    The government has passed a new law.
    The government argue amongst themselves all the time.

    In the first sentence, you are thinking of the government as a single organisation. Some ministers may have voted against the new law, but as a whole the government has passed it.

    In the second sentence, you are thinking of many government ministers. It doesn't make sense to say that something argues with itself; the ministers within the government argue with each other, so in this sentence only the plural is correct.

    There is one word you can never use in the singular: "police". You must always say "The police are investigating"."

  6. #6
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    Default Re: An airline - singular or plural?

    US - The FAA refers to any airline as "a certificate". The certificate authorizes the operation as airline be it an air carrier or a single operator.

  7. #7
    Nordic Bill is offline Member
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    Default Re: An airline - singular or plural?

    Thanks for this additional info, twostep and rewboss. I think I will stick to the singular except where this would be grammatically incorrect (as eg. in the case of "police", etc.).

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