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. – Jonathan Garber Apr 30 '13 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. – Persian Cat Apr 30 '13 at 13:17
  • No, you're right, I wasn't attempting to suggest that it was a duplicate, merely to have plausible deniability. ;) – Jonathan Garber Apr 30 '13 at 13:24
  • Please read my comment again. I said it is not answering my question. :) – Persian Cat Apr 30 '13 at 13:25

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.