is or are

lonata

New Member
usa
Which sentence is correct:

Personnel is not utilized to the best of their abilities.

OR

Personnel are not utilized to the best of their abilities.
 
  • Lexiphile

    Senior Member
    England English
    Hi Ionata, and welcome to the forum!

    Personnel is a "collective noun" one of the few justifiably collective nouns, in fact.
    So it's plural: Personnel are...
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It depends to some extent what you mean by personnel.
    If you mean the workforce, in general, then personnel is equivalent to staff - and see:
    Collective nouns - the staff <is, are> fluent in English?
    Collective nouns - The staff <is, are> ...
    Collective nouns - staff <is, are> ...

    In the UK, personnel in this sense is most likely to be considered as a plural noun.

    If you are referring specifically to the personnel department, that could well be different. We (BE-speakers) might very well refer to the department as a single entity - personnel (singular).

    From my recollection of those threads I would expect AE-speakers to consider personnel singular in almost all cases - but they would need to comment.

    Enough of generalisation.
    If faced with the target sentence, I would find it extremely difficult to consider personnel as singular. What on earth would one say?
    Personnel is not used to the best of its ability :eek: (BE eek)
     
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