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  1. #1
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default which is / who are

    1. Ms Birch has been working for the Internet provider which is now involved in a case of leaking customer information.

    2. Ms Birch has been working for the Internet provider who are now involved in a case of leaking customer information.

    Are both sentences correct? I believe sentence 1 is correct, but I think sentence 2 is also correct. The reason is I'm viewing Internet provider as people providing a service; hence, the verb 'are'. It is like 'company' which can be used with either a singular or plural verb. If we view the company as an entity, then 'is' is used. On the other hand, if we view it as people connected with the company, then 'are' is the correct verb.

    Am I correct?

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: which is / who are

    In my dialect of English, an Internet provider, like a company or an army is a thing. Therefore, the thing, which is now involved... is the correct form.

  3. #3
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: which is / who are

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    In my dialect of English, an Internet provider, like a company or an army is a thing. Therefore, the thing, which is now involved... is the correct form.
    I believe AmE views collective nouns as singular, so a singular verb is used. But BrE views collective nouns as either singular or plural - if considered as an entity, a singular verb is required, but considered as individuals, a plural verb is used.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

  4. #4
    mykwyner is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: which is / who are

    You're right. I have heard educated BrE speakers say, "The company are introducing a new product," or "Parliament have voted." Still, whether it is singular or plural, a company, or any other entity like it, is not a person. Therefore, I only use the personal pronoun who when I am referring to individuals (singular or plural).

    The people who arrive first will get the best seats.
    The person who leaves last has to turn off the lights.
    The organization that raises the most money wins the prize.

  5. #5
    engee30's Avatar
    engee30 is offline Key Member
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    Wink Re: which is / who are

    Quote Originally Posted by mykwyner View Post
    You're right. I have heard educated BrE speakers say, "The company are introducing a new product," or "Parliament have voted." Still, whether it is singular or plural, a company, or any other entity like it, is not a person. Therefore, I only use the personal pronoun who when I am referring to individuals (singular or plural).

    The people who arrive first will get the best seats.
    The person who leaves last has to turn off the lights.
    The organization that raises the most money wins the prize.
    I think it's only the word company itself that allows us to use either a singular or a plural verb. To me, the word provider is always used with a singular verb.
    Therefore, you can't say ...provider who is/are..., but ...provider which/that is...

  6. #6
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: which is / who are

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    I think it's only the word company itself that allows us to use either a singular or a plural verb. To me, the word provider is always used with a singular verb.
    Therefore, you can't say ...provider who is/are..., but ...provider which/that is...
    1. Ms Birch has been working for the Internet provider which is now involved in a case of leaking customer information.

    2. Ms Birch has been working for the Internet provider who are now involved in a case of leaking customer information.

    I think it should be "which is" on second thoughts. This is because I forgot that 'provider' is not capitalised. If it is "Internet Provider", it is a company and so a plural verb is acceptable in BrE. But in AmE "is" is the correct verb.

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: which is / who are

    In BrE, you will see 'who' used with a company, though some would decry this, and the plural verb is fine.

  8. #8
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: which is / who are

    Thanks, Tdol.

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