The Corporate “It”

The proper pronoun to use when referring to a corporation is “it.”

I despise this rule, as a corporation in practice is far from a singular thing. Even a seemingly monolithic force—as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp once appeared to be—is an amalgamation of wills: Murdoch, various executives, shareholders, and employees. Even if the latter can often feel like they are extensions of the will of the former.

A corporation is made up of so many moving parts, many of which are often at odds with each other. If that seems spurious to you just think about the last time you dealt with the IT department. (If you’re in IT, you didn’t even need me to point this fact out.)

By thinking of a corporation as an “it” we fall into the linguistic trap of perceiving these constructs as singular entities. From there it is a short leap to treating corporations as “fictitious persons” who have rights.

When writing for myself I use “them” and “they” to describe companies. This keeps me sane, and makes it completely impossible for me to accept the idea that a corporation is an individual.

It is a manner of thinking that I wish more judges would adopt.