I read on another discussion in this lesson that U.S. English treats collective nouns as singular, and U.K. English treats them as plural. After questioning the way I form sentences (I'm English and tested several collective nouns, with varying singular and plural results), I had a little root around online and have read that while U.S. English does treat the vast majority of collective nouns as singular, U.K. English can treat them as either depending on whether the sentence is emphasising the group as a whole, or its component members. Wikipedia quite amusingly quotes Elvis Costello: "Oliver's Army is here to stay / Oliver's Army are on their way"
Of course, it Spiritfire's assertion is correct, and "personnel" is a plural noun, not a collective noun, then the previous paragraph is irrelevant.
In any case, we're not here to learn English, we're here to learn German, and it would seem that auf Deutsch, 1. Das Personal is a collective noun, and 2. Collective nouns are treated in their singular form.
A caveat is that I have based point 2 entirely on the handful of collective nouns I have come across so far; German is full of exceptions to rules, so there may well be others about which I am wrong.
EDIT: Cambridge Dictionaries cites "personnel" as a singular or plural noun. Incase you wanted to know.
I agree. This is a difference between UK English and US English. The personnel would be have different verbs, I think this should be modified. We are not here to learn English, but German. If the Germans use the collective nouns with a singular or plural verb, we can learn that, but it should be translated to the appropriate speaker. So for US speakers collective nouns take is, for the UK, it would be are. What matters is that the student of German understands what this phrase means in his/her understanding of English. I think there should be multiple options.
There are some, myself included that do the reverse courses, i.e. Learn English via German, as a complement to their main objective of learning German from English. So I think the debate is useful.
I think Siebenundzwanzig is right. I don't perceive that there has ever been a debate about this. Personnel is a plural word. The personnel are doing well, for example. I checked a couple of English grammar sites and the online Oxford dictionary before I posted this. I'm not trying to be argumentative here - just want to make sure this point isn't misunderstood. "The personnel is good" should not be an acceptable answer.
No, staff is a group word. It normally under US English rules be treated as singular, like team, family, police, and a raft of other words that are treated as either singular or plural according to UK English usage.
Because sometimes on DL you are marked wrong when treating collective nouns as plural!
Not sure what your question is, but in English 'personal' means private or individual, relating to ones own person. 'The letter was personal. Which is to say private or just for the individual receiving it. In English 'personnel' refers to the employees of a company. 'The personnel department'. It is plural in nature, like crowd or population. It would not be used to refer to an individual employee. In German, 'Personal' apparently translates to 'personnel' in english. 'Personal' in english is 'persoenlich' in German (oe is umlaut e, my keyboard doesn't have umlauts).
In US English collective nouns (family, team, youth, etc) are mostly grammatically considered as singular.
No, only in US English are the rules so strict, and even there, there is more latitude than you think. Elsewhere in the English speaking world it's common to treat group nouns as plural, depending on context.
That's right; it's not correct.
das Personal is grammatically singular and requires the verb form ist.
Some English speakers use a plural verb after a singular noun referring to multiple people, but German does not do this.
"The police are looking for the thief" would be Die Polizei sucht den Dieb, for example, not Die Polizei suchen den Dieb.
Ok, so I have read all the threads about this and for a change, I have found a discussion thread that has not been closed (prematurely, when you want to raise a point not yet raised about that question and now it is impossible to do so). I got this correct, but it was because although as a native English speaker I would have preferred to use the word 'are' as staff is a plural word, (singular would be 'staff member'), I was forced to select 'is' for my answer. I think to help everyone an 'are' option could be included and then either would could produce a correct response. However, if the Germans do not use plural for what English use plural for, then we need to learn the German way as this is a German language course. However, I don't think that native English speakers are likely to use 'is' instead of 'are' in relevant translations as it goes against the grain for a native English speaker.