1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Dutch
  4. >
  5. "Het personeel werkt in het W…

"Het personeel werkt in het Witte Huis."

Translation:The staff works in the White House.

August 21, 2014



The English is translation is wrong. It should be 'The staff work in the White House' (unless the wizard's stick has a job there)


In some dialects it's works, in others it's work.


Some dialects? I think it's always "work". In England anyway..


Ah got ya, thanks. I'd never come across that before!


Or unless you follow (for example) Wikipedia's style guidelines, which mandate U.S. English when discussing U.S. subjects (such as the White House).

  • 1958

Where does it say that it's about the White House in the USA, rather than the White House in Russia?


This sentence reminded me of the American who was staying in an English village during the War. He shouted down the phone, "Gimme the White House," and the operator got him the White House. The White House was the village pub.


Ir maybe staff here in a compound noun? Like you'd say, the court works to maintain law...


You can infer from "werkt" that personeel is singular. In English, however, "the staff" almost always refers to several persons and so when referring to one person it would be more usual to elaborate and say something like "the member of staff", "the staff member" or even "the worker" or "the employee".


The Dutch sentence is referring to the staff, not to a single staff member. For collective nouns, singular is normally (always?) used in Dutch, in English it depends on the dialect:

  • de brandweer blust de brand = the fire brigade put/puts out the fire
  • de klas kreeg onverwacht een proefwerk = the class was/were given an unexpected test (group of students)


If staff is plural then the English should be "The staff work in...". Here it says "The staff works in..." thus supporting the view that staff - as used here - is singular?


It's a collective noun, it depends on the variety of the language (e.g. UK or US English) whether it is considered plural or singular, see comments above by Warmfoothills.


Thank you, so it's used in some English-speaking countries (chiefly the USA) but incorrect or uncommon in UK, NZ, Oz.


I think you'll find the singular is more common than the plural in Aus English. Usually, we're closer to the Brits, but not in this one...

But it depends on context too. If the collective is acting as one, then it's singular. If the collective is acting as individuals, then you use the plural.

The staff was about to mutiny.

The staff were going their separate ways.

It's complex!


Should "The employee works in the White House" also be accepted?


Employee = werknemer

Learn Dutch in just 5 minutes a day. For free.