Results 1 to 7 of 7

    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 250
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    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

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 45,808
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    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'


    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 250
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    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!

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 45,808
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: An airline - singular or plural?

    Switch away, in BrE at least.

  1. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
    • Posts: 1,553
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    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"."


    • Join Date: May 2004
    • Posts: 727
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    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.


    • Join Date: Aug 2005
    • Posts: 250
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    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.).

Similar Threads

  1. Plural Or Singular PART2
    By kahhong in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-Mar-2006, 11:58
  2. SINGULAR NOUN of NOUNS that PLURAL VERB
    By piggy386 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 28-Aug-2005, 12:39
  3. Singular or plural form of "to be"
    By Nordic Bill in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 17-Aug-2005, 22:34
  4. verbs
    By eyescold_07 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Aug-2005, 06:32
  5. Is 'manners' plural or singular?
    By peppy_man in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-Jun-2005, 23:53

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •