Recently I was speaking to a friend ane mentioned that I liked a certain band.
Him: this song always seems to calm me down totally
Me: Coldplay are good
Him: no, coldplay is good, but the members in it are good Emotion: stick out tongue
Him: A band is a single item, so hence you can only use the single conjugation of a verb, not the plural

Now I don't consider myself a pedant but I do find it rather embarassing when my English is corrected. Can anyone elaborate as to whether he is correct and a general background on the convention itself?

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I would say you should use are as a band is composed of more than one member.
Strictly speaking Coldplay is singular as there is only one band called Coldplay. Therefore "Coldplay is a good band" is correct.

However in the UK it seems that 'everyone' says "Coldplay are a good band". So this seems to be acceptable although it does slightly irritate me!

Another example in the UK are sports teams, eg. you will hear a journalist, TV presenter, player say "Liverpool" are playing tonight! The only people you hear correctly saying "Liverpool is playing tonight" are the foreign players!

I guess this is ironic as the foreign players have been taught to speak English correctly but the British people struggle!

I seem to remember that Americans also correctly use "is"?
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I don't know if "everyone" in the UK says "Coldplay are a good band" and I don't understand why you get so annoyed. Both English "dialects" have their own standards (RP and GA) - and both show only a small percentage of the population who uses them.

What you say is correct. In AmE the singular variant is more common, but it's dangerous to boast on the fact that it is the "correct" one given that even grammarians do not agree on what it s correct or not. There are so many variants: American, British, Australian, Canadian, New Zelander... and the variants in the ex-colonies and countries which have adopted English as their "official" language. Are they all wrong?

There's an explanation for this singular and plural difference you hate so much. The plural is used when we think of the group as people and the group is referred as "they" and "who":

My family are wonderful. They do all they can do for me. I don't know any other family who would do much.

The team are full of enthusiasm.

This "rule" applies to words like team, government, school, club, class, etc. When the group is seen as an impersonal unit, the singular form is used:

The average family (which now consists of four members at most) is smaller than it used to be.

The team is at the bottom of the third division.

Too British for your taste? Well, that's life. And I guess this explains the Liverpool is or are "struggle". Just ask a BrE speaker and you will see what he or she opines.

Hope this helps! Emotion: smile
I think " Liverpool ( is ) is referring to the team as a whole " whereas " are " to mean the players in the team like the word ' audience '.

eg. The audience is big for the show.

eg. The audience are giving a standing ovation to the performers onstage.

What do you think ?
I would say: "The audience are giving a standing ovation to the performers onstage". Not sure though.
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the audience IS (collective)

coldplay IS (collective)

the beatles ARE (because the word beatles is plural??)

the who IS

diana ross and the supremes ARE
But Coldplay could also be seen as a collective, couldn't it?

Sometimes, I notive this problem when watching a movie: In the very beginning, they say e.g. "Warner Bros. presents" and in another one it's "Warner Bros. present"

Further they sometimes have: "Columbia Pictures present" or "Columbia Pictures presents", so maybe both is correct and really just depends on the way you regard it: either being a collective or as separated parts?! Like "Warner Bros." regarded to be a company on the one hand or as brothers on the other?!
There are so many variations in this crazy language we speak! This is a grammar topic that drives me bats sometimes. I am a hockey fan who lives in the United States. Thanks to the wonders of satellite television, I am able to watch the Canadian broadcasts of games. While their camerawork and understanding of the game is often superior to that of the American broadcasts, there is one thing that the Canadian announcers do that is somewhat of an irritant. They use of "is" and "are". While I am not normally one to credit sports announcers, especailly the ex-athletes, with any sort of definitive mastery of the language, this is so common that it must be something that is part of a Canadian dialect.

For example, on one game the announcer kept mentioning that "Buffalo are finally getting their power play working". I would have bee far more comfortable if he had said either "Buffalo is finally getting their power play working" or "The Sabres are finally getting their power play working." To me, I see using the name of the city or state or province as using a singular collective, wheras using the team nickname in its' most common form as using a plural collective. That is what should influence which form of the verb should be used. This would be the same as in the earlier stated discussion about bands and whether Coldplay and The Beatles were to have their verb conjugated identically. Coldplay is, The Beatles are, The Rolling Stones are, The New York Philharmonic is, The London Symphony is, Bob Marley & The Wailers are. Buffalo is, The Sabres are, New York is, The Rangers are, Toronto is, The Maple Leafs are. Of course, if all was being technically correct, the Toronto team should be The Maple Leaves Emotion: smile
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