I know that collective nouns such as staff, team, crew, and family can get both singular and plural pronouns/verbs in different situations and contexts, but my question is only about staff when used to mean "a group of people who are personnel or employees of a same company."

When and why does staff get plural or singular pronoun/verb?

  • An answer to a slightly different question is possibly relevant, though I'm not sure it's an exact duplicate. Apr 30, 2013 at 13:10
  • It is not even a doubtful duplicate of that one and is not answering my question. Not question nor answer are about something else. Apr 30, 2013 at 13:17
  • No, you're right, I wasn't attempting to suggest that it was a duplicate, merely to have plausible deniability. ;) Apr 30, 2013 at 13:24
  • Please read my comment again. I said it is not answering my question. :) Apr 30, 2013 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


Staff is not different from other collective nouns: It takes a singular verb when it refers to the collection as whole, and a plural verb when it refers to the members of the collection taken individually.
That is for American English; in British English, collective nouns are generally regarded as plural.

See Collective nouns with singular verbs and plural pronouns.

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