The board of directors want all possible facilities and allowances for itself.

Which is the correct way to correct the above sentence ? Should I replace itself with themselves or replace want with wants ? I understand that in sentence like these I need to use singular verb/pronoun if the meaning conveyed is singular like The Jury gave its verdict. while I need to use plural verb/pronoun when meaning conveyed is plural e.g. The jury are divided in their opinion. but in the above sentence I'm not able to decide which is the correct correction.

  • I would say "want" is the obvious error and should be changed to "wants." – Ringo Oct 28 '17 at 19:46
  • It should be "wants" if you want to align it with the word "itself". It can only be "want" if you turn the reflexive pronoun into "themselves"; otherwise, it's called "synesis" in English: thefreedictionary.com/synesis – Nick Oct 29 '17 at 0:16

I don't know what "all facilities and allowances" means, but it's not really important.

"Board of Directors" is one of those tricky collective nouns that, if acting together, is singular, but if acting as a group of individuals is plural. Either way the conjugation of the verb and the reflexive pronoun need to match.

The Board acts to accrue more power to itself.

The Board act to accrue more power to themselves.

That being said, BrE has more range with collective nouns than does AmE. For example, in BrE "the crowd" is often plural, while in AmE it is often singular. The British may be more comfortable with "The Board are", while Americans will almost always say "The Board is".

More on collective nouns

| improve this answer | |
  • It might be easist just say "The directors want... for themselves." – James K Oct 28 '17 at 19:32
  • Yeah, I don't know if it's OK to write board of directors want in American Englsh. I would consider it a grammar error. – Ringo Oct 28 '17 at 19:45
  • @Ringo I thought so too, until I came across numerous American newspaper quotes that included things like "The police are ..." which made me rethink how Americans deal with collective nouns. I think we're OK with plural collectives, but we draw the line in a different place from the British. – Andrew Oct 28 '17 at 19:57
  • @Ringo but in any case I edited to include your comment. Thanks! – Andrew Oct 28 '17 at 20:05
  • @Andrew "Board" is a collective noun, and "board of directors" is pretty much a set phrase. Do they / should they function the same as far as singular / plural? I don't know the answer. Pretty much every collective noun I've looked at sounds weird with a plural verb, except for "police." – Ringo Oct 28 '17 at 23:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.