Word Choice – Staff or Staffs

Donna’s question: “Here’s something I struggle with – the plural use of ‘Staffs were…’ versus ‘Staff were…’ Staffs just sounds odd to me and doesn’t easily roll of my tongue. Am I wrong to say ‘Staff were very appreciative of…’?”
BizWritingTip response: The plural of staff is staffs. However, it is not a common word. It refers to bodies of people working for different organizations. Example: Staffs of all health-related agencies in the area were invited to a meeting.

Staff can be used as a singular or as a collective noun. “Staff were very appreciative” implies that some members were grateful. “Staff was very appreciative” implies everyone was grateful.