In UK English it is common to see statements like “Parliament have raised many questions about the proposal” in which because Parliament is made up of many individuals, several of whom are raising questions, the word is treated as if it were plural in form and given a plural verb. This is the proper-noun form of what is called the “collective plural.” Many UK authorities object when this pattern is applied to organization names if the organization is being discussed as a whole and not as a collection of individuals. According to them, “The BBC have been filming in Papua New Guinea” should be “The BBC has been filming. . . .”

This sort of collective plural applied to the names of organizations is almost unheard of in the US, and in fact strikes most Americans as distinctly weird, with an exception being the occasional sports team with a singular-form name like the Utah Jazz, the Miami Heat, the Orlando Magic, or the Seattle Storm. There’s a sarcastic saying, “The Utah Jazz are to basketball what Utah is to jazz.”

Another occasional exception is singular performing group names which are sometimes treated as plural, like The Who and The Clash, though such groups are also often referred to in the singular. It’s almost as common to say “The Who rule” as “The Who rules.”

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