Talk:U2/Are vs. is

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The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

When Referring to U2

...Should the speaker use the singular voice ("U2 has released many successful albums...") or the plural voice ("U2 are predominantly Christian...")?

I am not sure what Wiki's stance on this issue is.

"U2" is singular; there is only one band. EVula 23:37, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
YEs, only one band but it's convention to refer to groups as if they were plural. Ie, No-one says "The Beatles is coming", or "The Police was...". Definetly plural.--Merbabu 02:33, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, collective nouns are singular in American english and plural in British english. I would assume that in Ireland, they use British english, not American english, thus I would say make it plural. Bsd987 21:25, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Plural it is, then. --William 00:28, 1 July 2006 (UTC)
Being that it's plural, shouldn't the first line should read "U2 are an Irish rock band"? --Luminousbit 17:19, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes - it should be "U2 are", but I can't be bothered in an edit war over something minor like that. If someone else wants to change it "are", go ahead. cheers --Merbabu 02:28, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Grammatically, the correct way sentence would read "U2 is an Irish rock band." U2 is the name of the band and thus, a collective noun. The example of the Beatles is not the best example because the name has been taken to be plural. Any reference to a single member of the band often reads like this "John Lennon was a Beatle" or "John Lennon was a member of The Beatles". Bands like Green Day, and N'Sync both use the singular. However, Backstreet Boys uses the plural because the name is plural and can be used to refer to the group members indivitually (i.e. a "backstreet boy") Nevertheless, it's sort of an unnessecary distinction and, thus, shouldn't be worryed about as much. --omtay38 19:31, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

language usage

Because Wikipedia is contributed to worldwide by users who use a wide variety of types of English and dating, Wikipedia adopted a simple rule for content.

  • Where an article is about a topic from a country that uses one particular type of English, and one system of dating, that country's system should be used in that article.

In the case of U2, as the band is Irish, that means that the article has to use

  • Hiberno-English (which in effect is a branch of International English, and
  • International Dating.

International English is largely based on British English so it means that in effect this article should not use American English spelling and grammar.

International Dating takes the form dd/mm/yyyy, unlike American Dating, which uses mm/dd/yyyy, or ISO which uses yyyy/mm/dd. As it is an Irish topic this article has to use dates in the form 2 April 1970 (with no comma) not April 2, 1970 which is called American dating.

Finally, footnotes follow standard grammatical rules. That means that at the end of the sentence they come after, not before, a full stop or comma. So the reference should be written as text.<ref>footnote text</ref> not text<ref>footnote text</ref>. FearÉIREANNIreland-up.png\(caint) 20:03, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

U2 are?

U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. Shouldn't it be U2 is a rock band from Dublin, Ireland?—Preceding unsigned comment added by Ootmc (talkcontribs) 20:05, 31 March 2007

Hi! Thanks for your concern, and thank you for not editing the article itself. You're using the talk page the way it should be used! Band names are plural nouns in British English. U2 are a "collective" rather than a "thing" in British English ( and also Irish English, which is why it's used in this article ). For example: In America you would say "It is" and in Britain and Ireland you would say "They are" in place of "U2". I hope that clears it up!--JUDE talk 20:52, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Either way, my view is there are more important things to get hung up about. I used to revert any moves away from the British plural form, but i just ignore now any moves back and forth as long as they don't interefere with any other part of the article. Save your efforts for something else. :) --Merbabu 01:26, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh I'm sorry :). I didn't edit anything. I was just explaining the difference. I didn't mean to start anything serious. I understand that there are more important things, but I wanted to answer their question since I felt like I knew the answer. Sorry again.--JUDE talk 02:44, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
No need to apoligise at all. YEs, i think it is good to discuss issues. And, i don't think you started anything serious. Your answer was good and I was merely stating my opinion. Again, don't apologise. Merbabu 02:48, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Copyedit question re: "band" and "group" and tense

Hi all. I am with the League of Copyeditors and have a style question. I have tried to stay aware of the UK's plural usage when refering to a band by name (i.e., "U2 are..."), but I am struggling with the words "band" and "group". In American English, these are singular terms that denote a group of people and therefore use a singule-tense verb, (i.e., "The band is..." or "The group is..."). To treat this as a plural, you'd have to specify the indvidiuals in the group, by saying, say "The band's members are". I've noticed substantial inconsistency throughout the article (is it just a US/UK English issue?) and would appreciate a final ruling before I go in and make universal changes. Please advise. Galena11 18:38, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Copyedit

See hidden comments within article text starting with COPYEDITOR'S NOTE for issues/questions that I couldn't clarify. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Galena11 (talkcontribs) 21:32, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Wow, many thanks. It's a great improvement to have a fresh set of eyes (and wise eyes at that too), so much so that it would be great to have more fresh copy editors. Ie, you've fix so many obvious deficiencies that I overlooked over and over. Do you know anyone else who would be interested? cheers --Merbabu 00:48, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Also note that in many instances, you edited the article to use singular verbs when referring to U2, although British English states that bands are pluralized. Y2kcrazyjoker4 20:40, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
True, but that's a minor issue in comparison to the vast improvements they have made. Thanks again. --Merbabu 02:09, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Small grammar question

The first phrase of the article sounded really off to me U2 (IPA: /ˌjuːˈtuː/) are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. , shouldn't it be U2 (IPA: /ˌjuːˈtuː/) is a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. ?

No; convention states that bands are to be referred to in the plural, not the singular. MelicansMatkin (talk) 17:37, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for that link. and for the prompt reply. Samuel Sol (talk) 18:14, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
No problem at all, and I'm glad that I could help :) MelicansMatkin (talk) 19:04, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Was vs. Were

FOR THE LAST SENTENCE IN SECTION 6...The correct word is WAS instead of WERE. A collective noun, according to Webster's II: New Riverside University Dictionary is: "A noun that denotes a collection of persons or things regarded as a unit. usage: A collective noun takes a singular verb when the reference is to a group as a whole and a plural verb when the reference is to members of a group as single individuals: The orchestra was playing. The orchestra have all gone home.". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.57.201.114 (talk) 22:38, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

You are incorrect. As was stated above, convention in this case dictates that U2 are to be used as a plural noun. Why? Because bands are pluralized in British English, which is what this article uses.
Also, next time please create a new section for your comments instead of just dumping them in the centre of the article. Thank you. MelicansMatkin (talk) 23:16, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Collective nouns?

As I'm reading this I constantly see that U2 are is used instead of U2 is and when I went to fix it I saw the notice at the top of the page. Having never seen U2 referred to as plural before I looked at UK English and it says:

In British English collective nouns may be treated as either singular or plural, according to context. A example provided by Partridge is: " 'The committee of public safety is to consider the matter', but 'the committee of public safety quarrel as to who its next chairman should be' ...Thus...singular when...a unit is intended; plural when the idea of plurality is predominant."

And in the case of U2 it would appear that it is being referred to as a unit. Correct me if I'm wrong but shouldn't it be used in the singular? Alexfusco5 21:28, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
This is something that has come up before. Previous discussions and interpretations can be found here and here to explain the current rationale. MelicansMatkin (talk) 22:12, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Ok I see and I apologize for not reading archives first but I still find it a little weird that this article is the first time that I've ever seen U2 use plural verbs in the past. Thanks for clarification Alexfusco5 22:56, 19 March 2009 (UTC)
Not a problem at all; there's a lot of archives to go through, and I'm glad that I was able to help :) MelicansMatkin (talk) 23:01, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

"U2 are a band..."

There is a chance that I'm wrong, and all my time editing on WP I've been doing the wrong thing, but should it be that U2 "is" a band? The subject and object of the sentence are both not in plural form so I don't see why the predicate is. I am assuming if it went through the FA process, it should be pretty throughly copyproofed... 67.188.39.143 (talk) 03:43, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

yes that jumped out at me to. Assuming its correct, it certainly is awkward and sounds odd. Dman727 (talk) 03:46, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I think someone answered this during the talk Talk:U2/archive4 number 18, it confused me to. SADADS (talk) 03:48, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
This matter is explained in the hidden comment at the beginning of the article. Please read it. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 03:50, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
It should at least be consistent. The next sentence should be "The band consist of..." 04:19, 26 May 2009 (UTC)Baller McGee (talk)
I think the proper names of organizations are often referred to with plural verb agreement in British English.Synchronism (talk) 06:45, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Numerous bands/company/groups are often described by is and are. Why? For example, for koRn Wiki starts "koRn 'is' a...but for U2 (Today's featured article) 'are' is used. It puts all of us in a confusion wheather to use are or an is before bands. We have to clarify this to one rule. Note 'is' is more used than 'are' in most cases. —Preceding unsigned comment added by KoRngear (talkcontribs) 09:15, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

"U2 are" is British English. See hidden comment at the top of the article. GregorB (talk) 09:24, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
No it isn't. Such as statement is the ridiculous acceptance that common usage makes things correct. (Vide four wickets in four balls now being accepted as a double hat trick on Wikipedia.) "U2" is the name of the band, and is a collective singular. In the last sentence, would ANYBODY actually say "U2" are the name of the band and are a collective singular"? Wikipedia does not deserve to have its reputation sullied by poor grammar on the front page. 11:57, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

U2 is a rock bank not U2 are a rock band —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.96.228.88 (talk) 10:18, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

British English speakers tend to follow collective nouns with plural verb forms, but I suspect many British English teachers would not defend that usage as being strictly correct. Eric talk 14:01, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

First of all, even if "U2 are" is grammatically correct, I find no reason to use this. UK English is UK English for UK people; American English is far more generic and should be the default for internet resources. If you believe this thought to be arrogant or ethnocentric you are just being blind; Americans and American English make up the largest chunk of internet communication, and American English is the expected language to be used. Regardless of this fact, conjugating a verb following a collective singular as if it is plural is just wrong in any form of English. Most people make grammatical errors when communicating; does this mean that we should apply all of the common ones to Wikipedia? Andrew Nutter  Talk | Contribs  14:37, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

WP:ENGVAR (Emphasis is mine) - The English Wikipedia does not prefer any major national variety of the language. No variety is more correct than another. Editors should recognize that the differences between the varieties are superficial... An article on a topic that has strong ties to a particular English-speaking nation uses the appropriate variety of English for that nation... If an article has evolved using predominantly one variety, the whole article should conform to that variety, unless there are reasons for changing it based on strong national ties to the topic. U2 are from Ireland, a country that is part of the United Kingdom and that uses British English. Topics about America uses American English, topics about Canada use Canadian English, etc. Please tell me where on Wikipedia (aside from your opinion) it says "American English is the expected language to be used". MelicansMatkin (talk) 14:52, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
The Republic of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom. Just thought that needed clearing up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.77.187.221 (talk) 15:20, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, yoiu're right about that; don't know how I mixed that up with Northern Ireland =S. But still, to quote again from ENGVAR: If an article has evolved using predominantly one variety, the whole article should conform to that variety, unless there are reasons for changing it based on strong national ties to the topic. MelicansMatkin (talk) 15:25, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Even though the Republic of Ireland isn't part of the UK, it uses Commonwealth/British English spellings. The arrogance of some of the contributors above in stating that American English grammatical constructions should be the default in Wikipedia is ... well, no great surprise, considering. There's a whole other world out there guys - try exploring some of it rather than demanding it conform to your standards and expectations. 86.148.50.58 (talk) 15:47, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm another person who came here because the article is on the front page, and the first two sentences are simply jarring. "U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland. The band consists…" How can it so casually flip from plural to singular, while talking about the same entity? See, I wouldn't expect to see "U2 are a rock band" any more than I would expect to see "The band consist". But, it seems that this argumenting has happened before. I'm not entirely convinced that the lead represents British English, but I suppose I'm not in a position to say otherwise. A cursory search of BBC online shows how wrong I was. God save the Queen! U2 are great, and the band is terrific! -BaronGrackle (talk) 15:58, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

It didn't; looking through the page history I see an IP earlier changed it to read that way. Thanks for catching, I'll restore. MelicansMatkin (talk) 16:27, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Does anyone have any evidence to support the view that "U2 are" is British English? I speak British English and this doesn't chime with me as being true at all. I've just checked the "Oxford Guide to English Usage" and it appears to be unequivocal that "U2 are" is wrong, and "U2 is" correct. I strongly suspect that people who are claiming otherwise really mean "this is what I usually hear from British English speakers" which is quite a different thing - but I'd be more than happy to be proved wrong here. SP-KP (talk) 17:46, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

All I know is, when I type a search for U2 on British media (mostly BBC), I find that the plural form is pretty much exclusively used. As an American, I'm not ready to challenge the majority of U.K. media sources as not being representative of British English. :-) -BaronGrackle (talk) 17:51, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure the BBC are right. But I'd be less confused if BBC didn't tell me that ""BBC Parliament is shown". Those clever Brits—they can tell when "U2 are" and "Parliament is" correct. Cheers - Williamborg (Bill) 19:14, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Since U2 is an Irish band, not a British one, I decided to see which verb the Irish Times uses. The answer: are. So I think we should stick with that usage. Academic38 (talk) 21:02, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not too familiar with usage conventions for names of rock bands. Would it be agreeable to say 'U2 is the name of a rock band', at least in the lead? SlowJog (talk) 21:09, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
While it may be accurate, it certainly looks inaccurate and pulled me into the grammar as opposed to the content of the article. Surely this can be reworded in an accurate but non oddball way. Dman727 (talk) 21:08, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
How would you suggest this be done, keeping in mind that the rest of the article also uses British English? MelicansMatkin (talk) 21:51, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
How? Correct the article. I cannot believe that "U2 are" is correct English anywhere. It looks like the featured article was written by some highschool dropouts. Siggerty (talk) 23:06, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

U2 are a rock band? Please go. The Rolling Stones are eh is plural. Wikistar lost. -DePiep (talk) 21:30, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Huh? British English says to use 'are' in such cases. Americans would use is. Hence the difference between Oasis and U2 and an article on an American band. Enigmamsg 22:11, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

The fact that the BBC uses (or is that use?) "U2 are" says more about declining standards than what is correct British English, if you ask me. I feel a letter to Barry Took coming on. Except he am dead, weren't he? SP-KP (talk) 22:52, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

This wiki writes: "The Beatles were a rock and pop band from Liverpool etc". Plural, not "was". -DePiep (talk) 22:58, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
WP:CIRCULAR. I said earlier that we need evidence to support the view that "U2 are" is British English, and I haven't yet seen any. SP-KP (talk) 23:07, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I changed "the band consist" to "the band consists". While proper nouns may be referred to in the third person plural in BrEng, "the band" is a common noun and should follow English conventions. Dabomb87 (talk) 03:51, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

the Rolling Stones are a band- U2 is a band- U2 is a plural noun but only in that it has members which make up a unit which is if it were a pplural object that would superced the unit facility Masterknighted (talk) 04:42, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

The Who are a rock band The Beatles are a Rock Band Steppenwolf is a Rock Band R.E.M is a Rock Band Lynyrd Skynyrd is a Rock Band the current usage is not a variance it is a fantasy this editor will leave it be because the quorom has has decided that way but this poster strongly disagreesMasterknighted (talk) 07:01, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Oasis (band), Blue October UK, Hijak_Oscar, etc. Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American band, so naturally... Enigmamsg 07:23, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
"this editor will leave it be" Well, you certainly put the lie to that statement. Enigmamsg 16:05, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Hey Guys, do you think that The Official Website of the British Monarchy might know how to use British English? Because hey, look at some of the sentences I found on www.royal.gov.uk: "Every year the Royal Family as a whole carries out over 2,000 official engagements throughout the UK and worldwide." "The Royal Household aims to provide exceptional support and advice to The Queen, enabling her to serve the nation and its people." It's quite obvious that "U2 are a band" is not proper British English, let's change it please! Siggerty (talk) 03:21, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I think this might be one of the dumbest disputes I've seen on Wiki yet. "U2 ARE" might be pedantically correct, but its awkward, looks incorrect and sounds like it was written by a 9 year old who hasn't yet mastered cursive. "U2 is" is apparently wrong, even though that is the syntax used by virtually everyone who doesn't write encyclopedias and sounds natural because..well it is. Perhaps an entirely different phrase can be used??? One that sounds natural and isn't pedantically incorrect by some obscure measure? Dman727 (talk) 19:38, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I let it be Enigma until I realized that it could be both rather than one or the otherMasterknighted (talk) 20:00, 28 May 2009 (UTC)


Temporary protection

"U2 are and or is..."? I'm sorry, but that is just ridiculous. From reading the above discussion over again, it seems to me that the majority accept "U2 are" as being correct. MelicansMatkin (talk) 15:54, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

Well I didn't believe that comment so I counted. There are 8 people who want it to be "are", two of which were rather weak in their support. 9 people want it to be "is", and I can't tell if one of the unsigned comments is actually two separate comments (which would make it 10 people). Everyone else made comments that did not express an opinion. But seriously, don't you realize you're against the Queen on this one? For shame! Siggerty (talk) 02:49, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Not against the Queen, but for what the sources and the British English language provide. MelicansMatkin (talk) 03:05, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

This isn't rocket science - British English speakers most commonly accept "U2 are a band"; American English most commonly accept "U2 is a band." It's not that one is "technically correct" and the other is "colloquial" or whatever. It's just two different standards. It's like "center" and "centre." A poll is not going to resolve the issue either - that will just end up as a survey of the number of British English vs. American English readers happen to have seen it.

Both sides need to stop claiming that their alternative "sounds natural." It does sound natural, probably, to you, because that's how people you know talk. It's nothing deep or meaningful - it's just preferred usage by two groups of people.

To speak to the "The Rolling Stones are" vs. "U2 is" this is how American English uses it. It looks to the syntax of the word - "Stones" is plural, so it uses "are" where as "U2", collect or common in meaning though it may be, does not appear explicitly plural, and so uses "is." But again, this is just a difference in usage across dialects. I would think Wikipedia would have a more general policy about these sorts of questions? 99.141.26.119 (talk) 14:43, 29 May 2009 (UTC) 99.141.26.119 (talk) 14:43, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Check out Tampa Bay Lightning Minnesota Wild (two NHL hockey clubs) both use 'are'.... Perhaps it is a Canadian thing, but to me (a Canadian) are sounds right, and that may be because of our use of a more British version of English. I am perfectly happy with U2 are. Dbrodbeck (talk) 15:28, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm a Canadian too and I use both Canadian and British English. "U2 are" sounds correct to me too because of this, though as the IP above noted this is because it is the dialect we are used too. Since the rest of the article uses British English, I see no need to change "U2 are" to the American English equivalent, "U2 is". WP:ENGVAR. That "U2 are" sounds awkward to some people is, I think, primarily because they are used to using American English instead of British English. Changing it to "U2 is" because some people are used to their version of English instead of the one used throughout the article would just be plain moronic. MelicansMatkin (talk) 18:53, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

It's not as simple as American v British English here. In AmE, it's simple - you use "is". In BrE, it is accepted practice to use "is" when emphasizing the group as a unit, and "are" when talking about the individuals that make up the group. So U2 is the greatest rock band in the world, but U2 are not all native Irishmen. See Fowler's Modern English Usage for a more detailed explanation. My interpretation would be that "U2 are a band" is pushing it - to me U2 are musicians, but U2 is a band... CupawnTae (talk) 22:04, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

OK, so Fowler's AND OED both agree on this. Given that IS is acceptable in both American English AND in British English, and that ARE is not acceptable in American English and only (doubtfully) acceptable in British English, why are we still debating this? SP-KP (talk) 22:38, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

By the way, this usage is not limited to bands. See also Sunderland A.F.C. and Ipswich Town F.C. (both FAs). On the other hand, see Derry City F.C. and Dover Athletic F.C. Bottom line: both forms are accepted. The Manual of Style says that if the original form is acceptable, there is no reason to change the style without a substantial reason (besides style). Dabomb87 (talk) 00:02, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Exactly; per the MOS and WP:ENGVAR there is no need or reason to change. MelicansMatkin (talk) 05:44, 31 May 2009 (UTC)
Per WP:CIRCULAR your last point is invalid. I thought you would know that. Are you just trolling here? Siggerty (talk) 00:32, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Not exactly invalid; we're not using other Wikipedia articles as a source of information for this article, we're looking to see how other articles that use British English are structured in an attempt to clear up whether to use "are" or "is". Besides, other sources outside of the Project (such as the BBC) have already been given that uphold the same point of view. And given my contributions to the Project (and this article in particular) in the past, and the fact that I was the one who requested full protection in an attempt to solve this dispute, I seriously doubt that anyone could consider my comments or edits to be "trolling". Given that your only five edits in the last 22 months have been to this talk page, and all of those since the article was featured on the main page... You might want to think about what you say before you accuse another editor of something like trolling. Now if you wouldn't mind getting back to the discussion instead of throwing out accusations of trolling? MelicansMatkin (talk) 03:22, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Well I feel that saying you're trolling this discussion is somewhat justified. Using other pages on Wikipedia to prove your point is against the spirit of that policy if not the letter, and I think you're trying to take advantage of that. You're using logical fallacy and your own opinion as 'proof' that your point of view is correct so I don't think you're above sleight-of-policy. You ignore points brought up by others, and declare that you have a majority supporting your POV when that's clearly not the case. At the very least this is unprofessional, bad faith conduct. I don't believe you're interested in any kind of unbiased discussion on the matter either. During the time of your requested protection, CupawnTae and SP-KP made points which you ignored; after Dabomb87 chimed in to support your view you leapt in with both feet to agree and declare the matter closed (again).
If you would like to join the discussion instead of ducking valid points, then please first explain why you insist on using the straw-man argument that "U2 is a band" is solely American English usage and therefore not acceptable for this article, even after it's been pointed out to you that it is valid British English usage as well. Siggerty (talk) 02:48, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Please explain what policy I am going against by looking at the structure of other articles that use British English to see what the second word in this one should be. Note that I never "declared" that there was a majority supporting usage of "U2 are"; I said It seems to me, which was a rough guestimate I made by taking a quick look at the comments made by people who weren't just saying the equivalent of "It looks/sounds wrong/is stupid", but actually provided sources to justify their point of view. I've already explained my points multiple times, and this has been backed up by sources provided by other editors. I see no need to mention them again, but apparently you don't feel the same way. So here we go.
  1. This article uses British English;
  2. WP:ENGVAR states "The English Wikipedia does not prefer any major national variety of the language. No variety is more correct than another. Editors should recognize that the differences between the varieties are superficial";
  3. U2 are an Irish band, and Ireland uses British English;
  4. Searches on British media (which use British English) and Irish media reveal a clear preference for "U2 are";
  5. Looking at other articles on bands from nations that use British English (such as Oasis, Blue October UK, The Beatles, Queen, Pink Floyd, The Verve, etc.) for examples on their wording show a predominant usage of "are";
  6. The Manual of Style states that (to quote Dabomb87) if the original form is acceptable, there is no reason to change the style without a substantial reason; a preference for style does not count;
  7. Formal and Notional agreement; given that this is part of a Wikipedia policy (which is what we should be adhering to), I'm pretty sure that at least some thought and research went into it since it's, you know, a policy;
  8. There remains no consensus for a change.
Even if "is" may be acceptable in both dialects (and I have seen no direct source saying so), the Manual of Style states that there is no need to change from one to another without a proper good reason. "Are" is acceptable in British English. This article uses British English. Therefore "are" is acceptable for use in this article, and as there is no substantial reason to change (again, style is not included in this) why bother with it? And please show me where I ever stated that the discussion is "closed" multiple times (exact diffs that explicitly show me saying "this discussion is over" or "this discussion is closed" would be welcomed). MelicansMatkin (talk) 19:29, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
No you haven’t explicitly stated any such thing, but I think you're trying to imply a consensus in your favour. I’m fine with retracting the statement though.
The only numbered points I disagree with are 4, 5, and 7. I find it suspicious that you readily accept usage by whatever unsourced media you’re referring to, and at the same time dismiss the usage at www.royal.gov.uk. In my view the British Monarchy is a higher authority than the BBC or whatever zine you chose to look up on Google regarding British English usage. Trust me, they've been doing it for a LOT longer. The IP guy up above said it best when he complained about “the ridiculous acceptance that common usage makes things correct”.
Point 5... I really don’t understand how you can’t see that using other articles on Wikipedia to support your point of view does not contradict WP:CIRCULAR. Whether statement of fact or grammatical usage, if your source is another Wikipedia editor it is not usable. Spirit of the law plain and simple.
Point 7... Excuse me, that’s not a policy. It is an article, and one in need of improvement according to the box at the top. No wonder I have to question whether you’re trolling this discussion.
Now, about Point 6. This is really the only leg you have left to stand on, and I do agree with ENGVAR that if two versions are correct there’s no reason to switch from the original usage. But go over to this page here, and take a look at how this article was ORIGINALLY written...
Now we are all in agreement that since the wording has been changed from the original article without substantial reason, it should be changed back to the original wording. Per WP:MOS Siggerty (talk) 22:54, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
The website for the British Monarchy contains no info on U2; therefore it's not a source on what the band should be referred as. You are completely misinterpreting what WP:CIRCULAR is about, and your argument using it is invalid. You cannot use a Wikipedia article as a source for another Wikipedia article. So I could not use All I Want Is You (U2 song) to source a statement in U2 about the Lovetown Tour, for example. However, looking at the structure of other articles and comparing them in a discussion on a talk page about an issue does not violate CIRCULAR. You might as well say that referring to WP:RS in a discussion or as a rationale for a revert violates CIRCULAR since it too is technically an article. If you still can't see that distinction then I'm afraid I can't help you any further on that. Given that your only contributions to Wikipedia since July 2007 have been to this talk page since it appeared on the main page, I really have to question why you have a sudden interest in this article and this article alone.
Unsourced media? Lets try the following. A quick search of RTE (Irish media) shows over 150 results for "U2 are" compared to just 15 for "U2 is". Likewise a search of BBC.co.uk (British media) shows over 260 hits for "U2 are" compared to 65 for "U2 is". A search of SPIN (ironically an American publication) shows 6 hits for "U2 is", and a whopping 329 results for "U2 are". NME has 196 hits for "U2 are" and 102 for "U2 is". MOJO shows 106 results for "U2 are" to only 3 for "U2 is" (only one of which actually uses "is" as a collective noun). Is that enough sourced material for you? I think you can see now that, as I said above, searches of British and Irish media show a preference for "U2 are".
In regards to your last point, please see WP:CCC. The consensus changed from the first draft of the article to what it is now, and you have not yet shown that consensus has swung the other way again (especially as we are now the only two people discussing this). You are correct that my link was not a policy; my apologies for the mkistake, I initially thought it was part of WP:ENGVAR. However, if you look at the sources that back up the section I linked to (specifically the text source Peters, Pam (2004). The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-62181-X), you can see that my point still stands.
If you're interested in reading similar debates, you should check out Talk:Orange (colour) ;-) MelicansMatkin (talk) 02:58, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
I am British, speak British English, have been brought up on good grammar by reference to Fowler's Modern English Usage and others, and will never, ever, say "U2 are a rock band." To misquote Terry Pratchett, "Just because it's now done in a certain way does not mean it is right. A hundred million dead people can't be wrong." If we allow this kind of uninformed rule by consensus, we accept that Wikipedia can be wholly responsible for the acceptance of that which is wrong. The availability of incorrect information to generations of people to come, simply by the consensus of those who are not as well informed as they think they are cannot be correct. WillE (talk) 17:40, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
It's been pointed out numerous times above that both are correct, but per Wikipedia policy there is no need or reason to change it. You are reviving a now old debate and arguing over a single word. Get over it. MelicansMatkin (talk) 20:20, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
I take it that user:Andrew Nutter and others who share his opinion forget that British/Commonwealth English is used in countries big and small around the world including, uh, CANADA and AUSTRALIA...you know, those two pretty large continental countries...ΤΕΡΡΑΣΙΔΙΩΣ(Ταλκ) 06:16, 8 July 2009 (UTC)


Really - aren't there better ways that people can spend their wikipedia time? There are so many more pressing issues or shortfalls that need our attention. Move on. --Merbabu (talk) 07:50, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

British or American?

Does Wikipedia use British or American English? I was asking because of the first sentence, "U2 are a rock band from Dublin, Ireland."  JackSlice  Questions or comments? 20:01, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

It uses British, Canadian, American, Australian, and other varieties of the English-language. The type used in individual articles will generally depend on the subject's "nationality". MelicansMatkin (talk, contributions) 20:14, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

I would like to revive the 'Are vs. Is' argument. Someone in the archive has stated that you don't say 'The Beatles is coming.' This is because there is more than one Beatle, for example you might say 'John Lennon is a Beatle' , but you wouldn't call Bono a U2 because U2 isn't plural. JackSliceTalk Adds 23:16, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

There's really not much of an argument to revive. This article uses British English. In British English the correct verb to use is "are". That's just the way the language works. It's really as simple as that. MelicansMatkin (talk, contributions) 23:34, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
Ok, fair enough. JackSliceTalk Adds 20:40, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.