India are difficult to beat at home.

India is difficult to beat at home.

I read this sentence in a newspaper. Why are they using "are"? "Is" sounds better for me.

  • It's because in British English (not so much in AmE) we're quite happy to treat nouns like group, team, company as plural (because they're "composite entities", consisting of many people). So to us there's nothing at all unusual about doing the same with a country name when semantically it stands in for a "multi-person sports team". In short, to a BrE speaker this is just a stylistic choice, regardless of what any pedantic Americans might say. Apr 6 '16 at 17:54
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    @FumbleFingers There's no need to use pedantic as a pejorative. It's a cultural difference, and worth mentioning, but without the emotional loading.
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 6 '16 at 17:58
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    @T.J.L.: It's up to you if you want to see my usage there as "pejorative". So far as I'm concerned it's an accurate term for the context, which applies for the very specific reason that Americans are more likely to both be taught and attempt to adhere to identifiable "principles" such as the one involved here. At bottom, it's reflective of a different culture (one where a far higher percentage of people don't speak English as their first language, and which actively promotes things like "spelling bees" to encourage adherence to cultural norms). Apr 6 '16 at 18:17

In EN-us, it would be "is", because "India" is a country or in this case, presumably a sports team. Even though the subject is composed of multiple people, it's a singular entity.

"[The team from] India is difficult to beat at home."

If it were plural, you'd use "are":

"[The] India[ns] are difficult to beat at home."

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