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  1. K Rose
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    #1

    "Staff" with Was or Were

    I have a question regarding the word "staff."
    Does it take "was" or "were" in the following sentences:
    All staff was/were dressed in navy blue uniforms.
    The staff was/were on duty to assist with any problems.
    Does the word "all" in the first sentence refer to "all of them," making staff plural?
    Thanks!

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    #2

    Re: "Staff" with Was or Were

    In American English, collective nouns like staff are used as singulars if the entire staff acts as one unit, The staff arrives at 7:00 every morning, and as a plural if you are speaking of the actions of individuals, The staff take turns cleaning the bathrooms.

    I believe that this is a pecularity of American English, and other English speakers follow the British example of always treating collective nouns as plurals.

  2. sheena55ro
    Guest
    #3

    Re: "Staff" with Was or Were

    All the staff were dressed in.... [ in fact, each member of the staff was dressed in ...]

  3. sheena55ro
    Guest
    #4

    Re: "Staff" with Was or Were

    All the staff were dressed in.... [ in fact, each member of the staff was dressed in ...]

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    #5

    Re: "Staff" with Was or Were

    In British English, we can use the singular, but tend to use the plural. However, with 'staff', the singular sounds very strange to me.

  4. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: "Staff" with Was or Were

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    In British English, we can use the singular, but tend to use the plural. However, with 'staff', the singular sounds very strange to me.
    It's just the opposite with me - "staff are" sounds strange, but distinctly British. Um, not that I'm calling British things strange....

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    #7

    Re: "Staff" with Was or Were

    With some, it doesn't sound strange- the company is doing well sounds natural, but not staff is.

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