There is a Rolling Stone magazine sitting on my bathroom counter. It is partially obscured by other stuff that has stacked up there. The edge near the spine, however, where the titles for the various articles are printed, is still visible. One morning, I noticed that one of them said “Imagine Dragons Take Flight”.
Shouldn’t that be ‘Imagine Dragons Takes Flight’? I thought. I continued to ponder it as I climbed into the shower. The band takes flight I thought. The name is a title for a single object: a band. It’s singular. Pink Floyd takes flight. U2 takes flight. See? The Eagles… take flight. Hmm. But ‘The Eagles’ is plural, so yeah, that makes sense. ‘Imagine Dragons’ isn’t really plural.
Ah, I thought. It’s because the name has a verb in it. Tricky. I wonder which way it should be.
With that thought, I finished my shower and went about my day. The next day, the magazine cover was still staring back at me and I still thought it “read” wrong. The analysis continued in that morning’s shower.
Okay, what are some other non-standard band names? They Might Be Giants… take flight? Oh! That sounds awful. It should be ‘They Might Be Giants takes flight’. Well, what good is my opinion? I think it should be ‘Imagine Dragons takes flight’ too.
I considered the possibility that the copy editor for Rolling Stone might be wrong. It’s possible. Of course, they surely have more experience than I do in ensuring proper noun/verb agreement with unusual band names. The problem, I thought, is probably relatively new. Bands used to name themselves with nouns or with an adjective/noun combo, not verbs or complete sentences.
I turned off the water and decided to employ Wikipedia to help me out. Not that they are perfect at grammar themselves. Just a bunch of everybodies like me. But any article on a band will start with “band name is/are blah blah blah”. I suspected I would find support for my position.
First I looked up They Might Be Giants: They Might Be Giants (sometimes abbreviated as TMBG) is an American alternative band formed in 1982…
A-ha! Success. The band is, therefore the band takes flight. Time to check out Imagine Dragons:
Imagine Dragons is an American alternative rock band from…
Yes! Agreement! The anonymous editors at Wikipedia agree with me! Woo-hoo!
Checking The Eagles showed: The Eagles are an American rock band formed in…
Logical consistency, at least according to my view of the grammatical world.