"To twój personel?"

Translation:Is this your staff?

December 31, 2015

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This sentence is wrong in English


Okay. Could you elaborate on the 'why', and how would you correct it?


Because the English "staff" refers to a group of workers, not one worker. "The staff are helpful", etc. The singular would be something like "member of staff", "worker" or "employee".


Okay, I understand. And I'm happy to tell you that 'personel' also refers to a group of workers :) Even if it's singular, that's still for a group. (the word 'group' itself is singular in Polish)

I guess you could say "członek personelu" to denote "member of the staff", but "pracownik" (worker, employee) would sound a lot more natural.


I understand - thank you. By the way, in modern spoken English, groups seem to float between being singular and plural, so you can say "England is out of the competition" but more commonly, "England are out of the competition", even though that would have been considered wrong a few decades ago.


I always hear this as "England is out of the competition = The team that is England is out of the competition" and "England are out of the competition = the people of England as a nation collectively are out of the competition" but you're right I hear them both equally and i don't think I've ever heard "England has/have won the competition"!


Staff is a collective singular noun, as is for example, a "herd" of cows. It is incorrect, strictly, to say "the staff are.helpful". But people often treat "the staff" as if it was a plural.


I would argue that it used to be incorrect to say "the staff are helpful", but it is now the normal usage, so you would have to be very pedantic to say it is incorrect


Aren't such things a matter of American vs British English?

[deactivated user]

    Staff is a singular noun and when we use it with a singular verb, that's grammatical agreement, but it's also "correct" to use notional agreement with a plural verb. This is the case with many collective nouns. British English uses notional agreement more than American English.

    The following dictionary entry shows examples with grammatical and notional agreement.


    "A number of people doesn’t understand notional agreement" ;)


    Personnel is plural, staff is singular. So it should be either 'Are these your personnel?' or 'Is this your staff?' Also it would be 'My personnel are working/My staff is working'


    To add to the singular vs plural use of staff - this sentence is more likely to be understood by an English speaker as something said to a wizard/shepherd - 'is this your staff?'


    100%. I had "is this your employee" because 'is this your staff' sounds like you're talking to a wizard. Like he's being cross examined as a witness, or maybe he's picking it up from the cloakroom at a wizard convention and there are lots to choose from. HOWEVER- "Are these your staff members?" Is pretty close to "Are these your employees."


    Firstly, added "staff members".

    Secondly, I changed the main translation to "personnel".


    The translation given ("Is this your personnel") is not a grammatically correct English sentence. The word "personnel" is always plural, like "scissors", "trousers" or "spectacles". This is because "personnel" always refers to a group of

    The correct translation should be: "Are these your personnel?"

    A word that is always and only plural has a technical name: plurale tantum. Other examples in English are "clothes", "jeans" and "pants". Pluralia tantum also occur in Polish. For instance, where English has a "door", Polish has "drzwi" (doors) which must always be plural.


    Why "is this your employee" is wrong?


    It would be very strange in my opinion to use "personel" about a single person. I can't be sure it's completely wrong, but it's surely strange.


    I just have to memorize it I guess, since I am not an english native either, Thanks for the reply btw


    Personnel can have three meanings in English. It can be a group of persons, in which case it's singular. Or it can mean persons, in which case it's plural. Or it can refer commonly to the Personnel Department in an organisation. (Eg, "What does Personnel think about this?"). So, my question is which of these three is closest to the Polish sentence?


    People that work for some company, in this case 'your company'. Or at least your department.


    In that meaning the English is more likely to be plural since the meaning relates to people, rather than a group.


    That seems to depend on whether you're speaking American English or British English.


    I put 'It is your member of staff?'

    Can you explain why this is wrong please?

    Also, personel is always singular? How would I talk about multiple staff/personnel - is there a different word in Polish?



    It's grammatically singular, but it's a mass noun referring to more than one staff member.

    "Are [they/these/those] your members of staff?" has been missing from the database, I've just added it.


    One "member of staff" would be translated literally to "członek personelu".


    I think this must be wrong. I have never, while working in England, heard staff mentioned as personnel.


    Well, there's also American English.


    Hi. We dont use the word, personnel, to describe staff in the UK.


    Well, the main translations are usually American. You can use "staff" when translating, though.


    Personnel is inherently plural. "Is this your personnel?" is not grammatically correct in English, it should be "Are these your personnel?" since personnel always refers to a group of people.

    Also, the use of the term "personnel" seems very governmental and formal to me, as a Canadian. I think you'd be more likely to hear "Are these your staff/employees?" and for a singular, "Is this your employee?" I understand that this used to be "Is this your staff?" but that doesn't work either because the English word staff that is a synonym of employees is also inherently plural. So if an English speaker saw "Are these your staff?" they'd know staff = employees, but "Is this your staff?" would refer to a singular staff, like the piece of wood a wizard uses to cast spells.


    'Team' would not work at all?


    I think it works better than Duolingo's answer.


    I think it's way too vague. OK, it may refer to 'your employees', but it can also mean 'the guys I play football with', so... no, I don't think we should accept it.

    Even in the 'employees' context we could translate "team" more literally as "zespół", that would work.


    Yes, that was my point in the first place. I'd have expected 'zespol' instead of 'personel'. But I got used to it as it was repeated a few times in the lesson


    Yes. From an English perspective, it sounds awkward to use "personnel" in this context. I would use terms like "staff", "team", "employees" before "personnel" in this specific sentence. That's also an observation from doing an MBA and therefore a lot of reading.

    Having said that, the whole point of this is for English speakers to learn Polish. So, while it's a good aim to get very good English expression, sometimes that's not possible if the Polish translation is to be learned. In this case, the English translation is correct, and not really used. However, it is perfectly understandable, and if it makes the teaching point for those wanting to learn Polish, then that's quite all right.

    The only warning would be for Poles using it for a "reverse tree" lesson. They would be better using "team" or "staff" or "employees" etc.


    That was exactly my point!

    Thank you for making clearer hahaha I should maybe follow the English course here to make my Polish points clearer in the comments section :)


    I would also use "staff" here. We used to have "staff" as the main translation. We had a lot of comments from native speakers saying something about a wizard's staff and similar... :| So it seems it's not that easy. And then there's the singular/plural problem, because "personel" is singular in Polish, but (different variants of) English cannot decide on whether such nouns are singular or plural... :/

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