Community Web Version Now Available
Jay Kim
A business email question. Very simple. Hi I would like to ask you a question about English grammar. Let's say there is a company named PCM, and I also call a person who I communicate with by PCM. Ex) If PCM (want / wants) to receive this sample, I will send it today. With the sentence above, I have two questions. #1. If PCM represents unspecified individuals, can I say "want"? #2. If PCM represents just one person who I communicate with via email, can I say "wants"? I'm always confused when I have to write an email like this. Thank you
Sep 12, 2019 3:02 PM
Answers · 2
In English, PCM is like an individual person. Therefore, address PCM and write about PCM like a single person. Think of PCM as a person's name. So: #1. No. Although PCM represents unspecified individuals, PCM is considered to be one unitary "individual." #2. Yes! But also for reason #1 above. Always address PCM as if PCM is just one person. It is the same with other entities that represent lots of people, like for example, countries: "South Korea wants to have a good relationship with Japan." We use "wants" because we treat South Korea as singular, like a person. -- The only time you would use plural verbs would be if you said something like: "The people of South Korea want..." or "The highest-paid workers of PCM want..."
September 12, 2019
I American English, I would use “wants” because PCM is the name of a singular entity (note, it is different in British English, as explained below). If I wanted to refer to an individual or individuals, I woudn’t call those persons PCM. I’d call them “you”, leading to “if you want to receive this sample”; or perhaps refer to them by some phrase that includes “PCM,” such as “if the production manager of PCM wants to receive this sample . . .” In British English, collective nouns like companies and committees and the government are considered plural for purposes of verb agreement: “The committee have decided” (British) vs. “The committee has decided” (American).
September 12, 2019
Jay Kim
Language Skills
English, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean
Learning Language
English, Indonesian