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Is a Company an ‘It’ or a ‘We’?

Many people mistakenly refer to companies and other organisations using plural pronouns and verbs, but a company is always an 'it'.

When I receive various types of material – being they press releases or other content – that refer to the activities of a company or some other organisation, I often notice the writer has referred to the company as if it is not singular entity. For example:

  • Company A have launched a new product.
  • Company B’s new marketing campaign suggest that they are targeting a younger demographic than previously.

A company name is typically a collective noun (describing a group, rather than an individual), however we should bear in mind that when referring to a company or corporation, the company or corporation is legally (yes, by law) a singular entity and not a collective.

As much as we would like to think of a company as a group of people working together, it is legally just a ‘thing’. Therefore we use no personal or collective pronouns like ‘we’, ‘our’, ‘they’ etc. when referring to a company, and it should always take a singular verb.

So the correct forms for the examples above are:

  • Company A has launched a new product.
    (singular verb)
  • Company B’s new marketing campaign suggest that it is targeting a younger demographic than previously.
    (singular pronoun)

If you want to make the writing about your company more friendly, in the sense that you want to highlight the individuals within the company, then the

  • We at Company A are very excited about our new venture.

In this case, we have plural verbs and pronouns, because the subject of the sentence is a plural pronoun or noun, not the company entity itself. It is specifically referring to the company’s members.

Of course, if you are not sure and need someone to check your work you can contact me here.