Word Study : STAFF/ STAFFS
Another warm welcome to this week’s lesson. After giving you two lessons from the past, we are excited to give you a new lesson today. We will look at the peculiarity of the word staff/ staffs. Let’s begin with our first definition.
Staff: the group of employees of a particular organisation. This means one person is not a staff but the whole group is.
It is used just as the word team is.
If it is ridiculous to call Wayne Rooney a team of Manchester United, then it is ridiculous to call a person the staff of an organization.
The correct expression is a member of staff.
My dad was a member of staff of this hotel for many years.
Again, if is ridiculous to say the Manchester United teams because the players are many, it is equally improper to use staffs to refer to the people who work in one organization just because they are many. So we say:
The entire staff will be present at the meeting.
So when do we use staffs? Well, staff also has a second meaning : a long wooden stick usually held and used as support or for walking.
So, ‘the rod and staff that comfort you’; could be ‘the rods and staffs that comfort you’ if there are many.
Staffs therefore is accepted as the plural form if it refers to the stick. Some people also argue that you can use staffs if the employees are from different organizations. I wouldn’t be too certain about that though.
We hope you learnt something this week. Our next lesson will be on whether to use is or are with staff.
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DISCLAIMER: I am not a Manchester United fan; I am a proud blue. 😊