The Olympic Games (take / takes) place?

Can people say 'The Olympic games takes place every four years.' instead of '~ take place~.'?

People who argue 'takes place' is okay take the example of "Romeo and Juliet" which is used as a singular. 

 

Original Post

Y2K,

Use the plural to refer to the Olympic Games in general:

1: The Olympic Games take place every two years.

(The Summer Games take place in years divisible by four.  Since 1992, the Winter Games take place in even-numbered years not divisible by four.)

For a given year's Games, I still prefer the plural, but it is possible to view the name of that year's games as referring to a single event.  Hence, both of these are acceptable:

2a: The 1972 Summer Olympic Games were held in Munich, West Germany.
2b: The 1972 Summer Olympic Games was held in Munich, West Germany.

The more official title of the Games lends itself better to the singular:

2c: The XX Olympiad was held in Munich, West Germany, in 1972.

So, do we use the singular or plural with "Romeo and Juliet"?  That depends:

3a: Romeo and Juliet is a play by William Shakespeare.
3b: Romeo and Juliet are the main characters in a play by Shakespeare.

A better example to support the use of a singular verb with an expression that appears to be plural in construction is the United States:

4: The United States is one of the largest countries in the world.

DocV

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