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    #1

    all/whole with collective nouns

    Hello,

    I wonder which word is correct (or more natural) - whole or all - when used with a collective noun such as 'government' or 'staff'.
    We usually say 'the whole family'. Does it mean 'the whole government' and 'the whole staff' are ok?
    If I want to use these words with a plural verb, do I use 'all (the) staff', for example?

    Thank you.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: all/whole with collective nouns

    The whole government is shut down. (Americans tend to use "is" for this.)
    His whole staff is out sick.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: all/whole with collective nouns

    Thanks, BarbD!
    But you also say 'all (the) staff", don't you?

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: all/whole with collective nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Thanks, BarbD!
    But you also say 'all (the) staff", don't you?
    'Staff' means different things on either side of the Atlantic. 'All the staff' is fine in Br Eng, but that doesn't mean the same as Barb's 'His whole staff' (which I think refers to all the personnel immedia's not for us foot-soldoerstely below him in the hierarchy - which may be a dozen or so middle-managers; but it's not my language...) So you could hear an exchange like this:

    'Are you going to the meeting?'
    'It's not for the likes of us - just Rich's staff.'
    [Details are taken from my experience in an American-based multi-national.)

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 28-Jun-2012 at 22:41. Reason: Added example

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    #5

    Re: all/whole with collective nouns

    Thanks! But I don't get it, I'm afraid. It seems like either is fine - either all or whole, but why do you prefer 'the whole family' to 'all the family"?

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: all/whole with collective nouns

    Do I

    b

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: all/whole with collective nouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    His whole staff is out sick.
    In BrE, that would be "off sick". I would also use "All the/his staff are off sick". I wouldn't use "His whole staff ..." but again this could be a BrE vs AmE difference.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 28-Jun-2012 at 23:21.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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