Lesson 55 Word Study: STAFF/ STAFFS

Is he a staff? Yes, the boss leans on him all the time!

This week, we will continue our lesson from last week. We would like to welcome you specially.

We established the last time that staff is a group noun used to refer to the group of employees in an organisation. It does not refer to an individual and therefore cannot have a plural with ‘s’ just because the people are many.

However, staff: the stick can have the plural as staffs or staves.

Well, today we would like to consider if the noun staff (as in employees)  takes a singular or plural verb when used in a sentence since it is considered as both in a sense. So, which is correct?

The entire staff was late to the meeting. OR
The entire staff were late to the meeting.

What do you think?  Traditional grammar says the first one is the correct one. ‘But the people are many’, I heard you say. That’s true BUT we consider it as a group; and group takes a singular verb. Sorry. 😊

However, if it is indeed true that staff can be staffs if the employees are from different companies, then we could have:

The staffs (of the different companies) were all late to the meeting.

(This is based on the logic of the similarity between staff and team though it doesn’t work very well in my ears).

That is all we have for you today. We hope you learnt something. If you did, send us the correction of the sentences below:

Are you also a staff of that company?

Yes, we have been staffs there for a very long time. Some of the privileges enjoyed by the staffs are bonuses and trips around the world.

Thank you for your time. Do send us your comments and questions. And don’t forget to like and share.  Catch you here next time for another interesting lesson.

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