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July 11, 2022
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I think Americans do two different things, depending on the context. Typically we say: “Google IS a large corporation. Google IS going to do this or that. Google SAYS… All use singular verbs.
I’ve never heard anyone except Brits, Australians, etc., say “Google ARE…” However, I do hear people REFER to Google in the plural when they have grievances against Google employees or management, whom they feel have caused them harm. Punitive actions are done by people, THEM, not an entity, IT. I see a mix of the singular used when referring to Google in a more impersonal sense, vs the plural used when a someone alleges harm by people at Google against them. They won’t say “Google ARE doing this to me.” They’ll say something like, “Google is doing this to me. THEY demonetized my YouTube videos.” They use Google with the singular, and in the next sentence will say THEY. Clearly meaning Google. But not messing up the tense in the sentence.
So I think when the view of the speaker/writer switches from an entity to the people in the entity, that’s when you’ll see the switch from singular to plural. But it will be in a different clause or sentence.
They are all variant usages. I say “Turn on/off” because that’s what my parents, who were from Connecticut and Chicago, said.
Some people born in the South or who have a long heritage there, including many black people, often say “Cut the lights on/off”. We hear both in California. “Turn” is more common. I’d say “Cut” may be about 20%.
The big question to me is: What’s the origin of “TURN on/off the lights”? Usually we’re not “turning” anything. Maybe it stems from the house lamps where you do actually TURN the switch on and off. Since it’s typically a switch that’s either on or off, “cut off” may actually make more sense than “turn off”.
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