Guild Leadership

Guild Macro Grammar Question

One of my last tasks as Guild Master was to come up with a generic recruitment macro that the officers could post in trade every once in a while. It’s been successful from what I can tell; none of the officers have been harassed by trade chat trolls and the recruits all seem like a good fit. But, there’s one problem: a trade chat good samaritan informed one of our officers that I had gotten the grammar wrong. It should read that ‘Concur IS a guild’, and not ‘Concur ARE a guild’ like I have it written. Huh?

WoWScrnShot_072913_111648

Me? Wrong? How can this be?!

This is where I make a confession. I like to think that I have an alright understanding of how the English language works, but I don’t know technical terms to describe exactly how it works. So when the officer agreed that the grammar was in fact wrong and she changed the macro, I couldn’t explain why I thought I was right and so I simply let it slide.

I have since asked another friend who does know the technical terms, and she explained it to me that I was using the name of our guild to describe a team and gave me an example as to why she believed I was right: “You don’t say, ‘West Coast Eagles is a football team from Western Australia’, you say ‘West Coast Eagles are a football team from Western Australia’ because you’re talking about a collective of people. In this case, you’re referring to the guild as a team of people, therefore using the word ‘are’ is correct.”

What do you lovely readers think? Should a recruitment macro be written like an advertisement for a company, (‘KFC is a fast food chain’) or like a promotion for a team (‘The Red Sox are a baseball team’)? Does it depend on the kind of guild you’re running, or have we all got it completely wrong? Let me know in the comments below!

EDIT: For clarification sake, this is the macro text we were using: “/2 <Concur> are an established West Australian (GM+8) guild who are looking for more casual, relaxed players to join the ranks. Don’t be just another number, be a part of our family. PST for more info or visit http://concur.wowstead.com

EDIT 2: An astute commentator on the Neri Approves Facebook page shared this link, which suggests that “is” is the correct word. HOWEVER, US and Briton handle it differently, and since I am Australian, using “are” could be acceptable for me and my Australian guild, but if you’re American, you would say “is’. I think… Dear god, how do people even learn to speak our crazy language?!

6 thoughts on “Guild Macro Grammar Question

  1. I’ll step in here and put on my English teacher hat. “Concur is” would be the correct form to use, since it’s the name of an organization, essentially making it a collective noun like “group,” “faculty,” or “audience,” all of which refer to a collection of people but are treated as singular grammatically.

    Whether or not you’re treating the guild as a team is really irrelevant here. In the case of an actual sports team like “West Coast Eagles,” the reason you use the plural form of the verb isn’t that you’re referring to the group as a team, but because “Eagles” is plural. In contrast, when you use the word “team” — which couldn’t be any more overt in treating a group as a team — you would treat it as a singular: “The team is playing tomorrow,” as opposed to “The team are playing tomorrow.”

    Side note: All of this is somewhat culturally dependent, which might account for some of the varying answers you’re getting. In British English, there’s some discretion in using the singular or plural verb conjugations. In American English, all these collective nouns are treated as singulars, period.

  2. Just wanted to say that in American English, you’ve hit on it: ‘guild’ would be treated as a singular, common noun, and any specific permeation thereof (e.g. “Is Out Of Mana” or “Concur”) would be a proper variant. I would be interested to know if English elsewhere treats other collective nouns as plural, too — for example, would people in the UK say that a carton (of eggs) are rotten?

    Cool beans.

  3. I concur (hehe) with the “is” camp. You’re talking about an individual guild, so it’s singular. As for the carton of eggs … I think the carton of eggs is rotten, or all the eggs are rotten. Initially you’re talking about an individual carton, then you’re talking about more than one egg.

    Our guild is called Dark Wolves, so I’ve wavered a bit with our advert (as “wolves” is plural), but I think (although could be wrong!), that as the advert is about a single guild called Dark Wolves, it’s still an “is”.

  4. English can be so confusing! It’s my second language and I’m still learning a lot! I’ve actually thought about the same thing. For me what you first wrote sounds correct if you think about a guild as a team and it should be ok to use “are”, but “is” might be correct if you think that a guild is a thing, so “it is”. But I wouldn’t have noticed it if I read your macro in trade. I’m happy our macro is in Norwegian or Swedish :P

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