I'm not sure whether to say ' SWTC has over 14 years' experience ' or ' SWTC have over 14 years' experience '. Can anyone help please?


  • 1
    That depends on what SWTC means. Probably the first one, but we need more context. – ssav May 14 '15 at 9:27
  • Hi - SWTC is just the name of the company - it stand for Steve Willis Training Centres - does this help? – user19629 May 14 '15 at 9:57

It depends mostly on which side of the pond you're on. In UK, a company, a team, or a government can be singular OR plural, depending on intended meaning (referring to them either collectively or as individuals within the group); whereas in US such collective nouns are almost always treated as singular.

  • Edited my answer and deleted earlier comment. Better? – Brian Hitchcock May 14 '15 at 12:25

I don't agree exactly with this last comment. I don't think more context is required. I'd say that when we talk about organisations, then both forms of the verb are possible. As a general rule I think the singular "has" is slightly more commonly found, but the plural "have" is also commonly used. The main thing would be to be consistent in subsequent sentences about SWTC and not to switch from sing to pl or vice versa


Strictly speaking, a company or organisation is singular, which would make it
SWTC has…

However, people so often refer to a company as composed of its individual employees, that they forget this - so you will likely see
SWTC have
used at least as often as 'has'

This doesn't make it correct, but it's one of those things we all just have to live with.

A couple of references -
BBC English Learners
The Economist style guide

Of course, the fact that the abbreviation actually stands for a plural will really throw the cat amongst the pigeons… but see

The company -
"Steve Willis Training Centres is responsible for the maintenance of training centres"
The centres [or indeed the same would apply for the employees] -
"Steve Willis Training Centres are where people go to learn new skills"

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