Staff vs Staffs

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by Debiprasad Sahoo

Wrong: You’re the best staff in our company.

Right: You’re the best employee on our company staff.

Explanation: I have absolutely lost count of how often I hear this word being abused, both in writing and speech, on a daily basis. Blame it on the cultural orientation, and poor English skills of many teachers at elementary schools in India, many people have acquired a wrong impression about the word “staff”. Grammatically speaking, staff is collective noun, meaning a group of professional in a particular organization. Like the word “department”, staff also refers to two or more things or people as a group.

Therefore, you can’t afford to use the word “staff” to mean a single person when it effectively means a group.

For example: He is a reliable staff member. (NOT reliable staff)

Another Example: I would like to thank the staff of the Department of Technology for their help. (NOT staffs)

NB: As far as “staffs” is concerned, it can be used to mean a group of different departments in a company.

via Susanta

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