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Dear Friends,

This is my first post although I use the site frequently. Which is correct?

"The staff at the Mercer One-Stop appear to have a significant case load."

or

"The staff at the Mercer One-Stop appears to have a significant case load."
Comments  


you are welcome.[8]
I am not a native speaker but I have an idea.

both of them can be correct depending on the meaning.if you talk about the staff as a group it must be "apeears" but if you talk about the staff individual by indivudall than you can consider it plural and it must be "appear" in my opinion.Emotion: automobile
My opinion is this.

"Staff "always refers to a group of people. Plural verb is used usually. For a single person, 'a member of staff" is used.
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Both are correct. Use the one or the other depending whether you consider the staff as a single unit ('staff appears') or whether you want your reader to think of each member of the staff individually ('staff appear'). The second of these makes "staff" equivalent to "members of the staff" without having to write it all out.

The tendency in American English is to choose the singular in such cases ('staff appears'), even though the plural is not unheard of there. I mention this in case you want the sentence to sound American rather than British.

CJ
CalifJimBoth are correct.
The tendency in American English is to choose the singular in such cases ('staff appears'), even though the plural is not unheard of there. I mention this in case you want the sentence to sound American rather than British.

CJ

I agree! My family is spread out across the country, even though we all started in Colorado. Now, my wife's family is still located in their same tiny town. So, our families are of a different nature, regarding closeness.
Hello Philip

As a BrE, I'm genetically programmed to say "my wife's family are". But I'm interested to see that though using "my family is", you can still say "their same tiny town" in AmE.

Would "its same tiny town" be possible, too?

MrP
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Good screen name, I Make Others, by the way. I wish I'd thought of it.

MrP
MrPedanticHello Philip

As a BrE, I'm genetically programmed to say "my wife's family are". But I'm interested to see that though using "my family is", you can still say "their same tiny town" in AmE.

Would "its same tiny town" be possible, too?

MrP
I am SO glad you caught that! What I wrote just came naturally, and the only reason I can think of to explain 'their' rather than 'its' is because of an also natural refusal to use 'its' when dealing with people. We have that problem in English: "Would everyone bring their pencil(s) tomorrow", having no other choice, except to use the awkward 'his/her' construction. Thanks for your careful reading (in spite of my poor proof-reading).
It seems to me that "their" is used to indicate only animacy, not plurality, so "its" would be unacceptable there.
(My two cents.) [Cf. "Everyone put their book on their desk", to avoid assigning gender, and as a (singular) substitute for the singular "his book on his desk".]
CJ
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