Introduction: Debate Over Pronoun Use In Referring To A Company
In the English language, there has always been a discourse surrounding the appropriate pronoun to use when referring to a company. The two main contenders are “its” and “their.” This article aims to explore the different perspectives and provide a comprehensive understanding of the debate on pronoun usage in relation to companies.
Viewing Collective Nouns As A Whole, Impersonal Unit
One school of thought argues that collective nouns, such as a company, should be viewed as a whole, impersonal unit. According to this perspective, these entities should be treated as singular and evoke the use of singular verbs and pronouns.
The rationale behind this is that collective nouns represent a unified entity with a common purpose and structure.
Singular Verb Usage For Collective Nouns: Alternative Perspective
On the other hand, alternative sources suggest using singular verbs with collective nouns. While the collective noun might be composed of numerous individuals or components, these sources argue that treating it as a singular unit promotes consistency and clarity in writing.
British English: Plural Verb Usage For Collective Nouns
Interestingly, in British English, the usage of both singular and plural verbs with collective nouns is considered acceptable. This flexibility allows writers to choose according to their preference or intended meaning.
However, it’s important to note that plural verb usage is less common and often seen as a stylistic choice rather than a grammatical necessity.
Personal Preference: Advocating For The Use Of “Its”
As the author of this article, I personally advocate for the use of the pronoun “its” when referring to a company. This preference aligns with the viewpoint that collective nouns should be treated as singular and impersonal entities.
By using “its,” we maintain consistency in both verb and pronoun agreement throughout the text, reinforcing the idea of a unified company.
“Their” As A Widely Accepted Pronoun In English
However, it’s important to acknowledge that the pronoun “their” is also widely accepted when referring to a company in both British and American English. This plural pronoun allows for a more inclusive and personable approach, attributing the characteristics of the people within the company to the entity as a whole.
Google Ngram Chart: Support For “Its” With “Company”
To gain further insight into the prevalence of using “its” or “their” when referring to a company, a Google Ngram chart was analyzed. The chart indicated that “its” is the more commonly used pronoun with “company” in both American and British English.
This finding lends support to the argument that treating a company as a singular entity is the prevailing practice.
Popularity Of “Its” As The Preferred Pronoun Choice
Taking into account various perspectives, personal preferences, and linguistic analyses, it is evident that “its” is the most popular pronoun choice when referring to a company. This popularity is rooted in the historical tradition of treating collective nouns as singular and impersonal units, as well as the desire for consistency in verb and pronoun agreement.
However, it is essential to acknowledge the validity of using “their” as a more inclusive and personable alternative in certain contexts.
In conclusion, the debate over the pronoun usage in referring to a company has been ongoing. While both “its” and “their” have their merits, the prevailing practice, as supported by linguistic analyses and usage trends, is to use “its.” However, writers should consider the context, stylistic preferences, and the desired tone of inclusivity when deciding between the two pronouns.
Ultimately, the goal is to maintain clarity, consistency, and appropriate representation of the company as a unified entity.