staffs (two part question)

English translation: no plural form - a collective noun

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:staff
English translation:no plural form - a collective noun
Entered by: Roddy Stegemann

07:02 Oct 26, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Social Science, Sociology, Ethics, etc. / organization of the firm
English term or phrase: staffs (two part question)
Part I: Before coming to Hong Kong I viewed the use of the the word "staffs" to mean the staff members of a person's staff with a great deal of circumspection. My own cultural heritage and worldly experience aside, what are your thoughts on using the word "staffs" in this context?

Part II: Returning to my entry outlined in http://www.proz.com/kudoz/846249 do you feel that it is appropriate to employ the word "staffs" when it refers to more than one vertex of an organizational pyramid?

Grading will be decided by averaging the responses to both questions -- not the number of BrownZs that each answer entry acquires.
Roddy Stegemann
United States
Local time: 12:57
not in plural
Explanation:
I think I've just seen the light. You want to know whether you could use the word staff in its *plural* form when you are referring to (a) a number of staff members and (b) a number of different levels in a staff's hierarchy.
I don't think so. Staffs doesn't sound like good English at all.

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Note added at 12 hrs 15 mins (2004-10-26 19:17:40 GMT)
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As I kept thinking about your question this afternoon, it occurred to me that there are actually instances where a plural of \"staff\" would come in handy. But I think you would still stick with the singular, even in cases like: \"Mr. X and Ms. Y were present at the conference, along with their respective staff.\"
Selected response from:

Heidi Stone-Schaller
Local time: 21:57
Grading comment
I would like to extend my thanks to everyone for their contribution, but I really was not looking for a definition, rather a discussion about use.. I chose Heldrun's answer, because unlike a rolling stone it gathered moss and with it excellent examples for comparison -- especially the use of the word police.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +1not in plural
Heidi Stone-Schaller
4 +1The word is 'staff' and you can use it as you propose.
Ramesh Madhavan
2 +3staff members
Jonathan MacKerron


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +3
staff members


Explanation:
usually works well, but don't really understand your question...

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Note added at 7 mins (2004-10-26 07:09:46 GMT)
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\"company staff\" includes all employees, \"staffs\" in plural is seldom used

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Note added at 14 mins (2004-10-26 07:16:45 GMT)
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Part II: here I assume you are referring to \"teams / working groups \" departments\" or some such like?

Jonathan MacKerron
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Heidi Stone-Schaller: agree that staff in plural is pretty unusual, and agree that it is hard to guess what the asker really wants to know...
20 mins

agree  militia (X): group of workers
1 hr

agree  nlingua: the only usage I can find for "staffs" is when referring to 2or more long sticks, and even there the term "staves" is better :-)
7 hrs
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42 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
The word is 'staff' and you can use it as you propose.


Explanation:

I believe that the plural of ‘staff’ is ‘staff’ and not ‘staffs’. Coming to your question, Oxford dictionary defines the word as follows:

staff /st f; AmE stæf/ noun, verb
noun
1 [C, usually sing.] all the workers employed in an organization considered as a group: medical / library staff (BrE) teaching staff (BrE) We have 20 part-time members of staff. (AmE) staff members staff development / training a staff restaurant / meeting (especially BrE) a lawyer on the staff of the Worldwide Fund for Nature—see also ground staff
2 [sing.] (AmE) the people who work at a school, college or university, but who do not teach students: students, faculty and staff
3 [C+sing./pl. v.] a group of senior army officers who help a commanding officer: a staff officer—see also Chief of Staff, general staff
4 [C] (old-fashioned or formal) a long stick used as a support when walking or climbing, as a weapon, or as a symbol of authority
5 [C] (music) (especially AmE) = stave

I will fit your example within the meaning given under 1 & 3 above: Those who help a person in his daily routines. I therefore feel that it is perfectly alright to use ‘staff’ to mean all the members of a person’s staff treated as a group.

Regarding Part II of your question, my answer is: Yes. You can use “Staff” to mean all the people employed in a company. Here again, I am taking the help of meaning 1 above.


http://www1.oup.co.uk/elt/oald/bin/oald2.pl


Ramesh Madhavan
Local time: 01:27
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in TamilTamil

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Java Cafe
7 hrs
  -> Thanks.
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55 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
not in plural


Explanation:
I think I've just seen the light. You want to know whether you could use the word staff in its *plural* form when you are referring to (a) a number of staff members and (b) a number of different levels in a staff's hierarchy.
I don't think so. Staffs doesn't sound like good English at all.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 12 hrs 15 mins (2004-10-26 19:17:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

As I kept thinking about your question this afternoon, it occurred to me that there are actually instances where a plural of \"staff\" would come in handy. But I think you would still stick with the singular, even in cases like: \"Mr. X and Ms. Y were present at the conference, along with their respective staff.\"

Heidi Stone-Schaller
Local time: 21:57
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
I would like to extend my thanks to everyone for their contribution, but I really was not looking for a definition, rather a discussion about use.. I chose Heldrun's answer, because unlike a rolling stone it gathered moss and with it excellent examples for comparison -- especially the use of the word police.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Laurel Porter (X): ...AE: Mr. Big's staff is working hard... BE: Mr. Big's staff are working... / Actually, "police" is unusual in that it takes the plural verb form in AE too: "The police force is working...", but "The police are working the case." Logic? Not here!
6 hrs
  -> yes, same as "the police is investigating" vs. "the police are investigating"//this is off-topic, but in AE I'm familiar with *both* forms for "police" (plural is perhaps considered better English, admittedly)
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