Alright, I'm about sick to my stomach over this. This might sound like a pointless grammar-nazi rant but I don't really care.
When referring to a group (i.e. Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo) the proper verb to use is "is", not "are" (or more accurately, singular, not plural). Only under very specific circumstances would one use the plural form of a verb to refer to a collective... those circumstances being when you are referring to separate members of the collective.
upset that their
console isn't selling."
upset that its
console sucks a fat one."
decided that they
will drop the price of the 360 by $100 before christmas."
a fucking company and that's fucking singular, goddamnit."
"Nintendo's marketing staff are
in disarray due to the recent announcement about moving headquarters."
better wording for accuracy:
"The members of Nintendo's marketing staff are
in disarray because Reggie said he wants to eat their babies."
I know some people don't give two shits about grammar and spelling and think that people who do are just complaining for the sake of being a prick, but that's really not why they do it. When I see glaring errors like this it breaks the flow of the article and also reflects poorly on the writer. If I am to trust what this person has to say and respect their ideas, opinion, and authority on the matter, having silly errors like this undermines all of that.
This trend has become pretty popular on a lot of blogs (including dtoid) and I'd really like to see it rectified. There is nothing worse than seeing a well written article that loses its punch because the author has made silly mistakes. Fix that shit up and double check before you put something out there to be scrutinized by the public and you'll garner that much more credibility because of it.
Some nouns which name groups can be either singular or plural depending upon their meaning in individual sentences.
Because they can describe either the individuals in the group (more than one – plural), or the group as a single entity (one only – singular), these nouns pose special problems.
If we refer to the group as a whole and, therefore, as a single unit, we consider the noun singular. In this case, we use a singular verb.
If, on the other hand, we are actually referring to the individuals within the group, then we consider the noun plural. In this case, we use a plural verb.
1. Group nouns can be considered as a single unit, and, thus, take a singular verb.
2. Group nouns can be considered as individual members within a single unit and, thus, take a plural verb.
3. Group nouns can be given plural forms to mean two or more units and, thus, take a plural verb.
Collective nouns such as team and staff may be either singular or plural depending on their use in the sentence.
The staff is in a meeting.
Staff is acting as a unit here.
The staff are in disagreement about the findings.
The staff are acting as separate individuals in this sentence.
The sentence would read even better like this:
The staff members are in disagreement about the findings.
Collective nouns name a class or a group. If the group functions as a whole, treat the noun as singular. If the members of a group function individually, treat the noun as plural.
When the committee signs their names to the document, they will be relieved of their duties. (In this case, members of the committee sign their names as individuals, not as a committee; therefore, the subject is plural. Also, the use of the pronouns their and they indicate that the subject is plural, not singular.)
When the committee sign their names to the document, they will be relieved of their duties.
If the jury reach a decision by 4 p.m., we will be able to hear the results today. (In this case, the jury functions as one single unit; therefore, the subject is singular.)
If the jury reaches a decision by 4 p.m., we will be able to hear the results today.