personal and personnel - the difference
Personal and PersonnelThe words personal and personnel sound fairly similar and both derive from the Latin word personalis (meaning personal). However, their meanings are quite different. (Of note, personal is stressed on the first syllable, and personnel is stressed on the last syllable.)
PersonalThe word personal is most commonly seen as an adjective. Generally, it will mean something like private or individual. Here are some more nuanced meanings:
Affecting or belonging to a specific person (as opposed to someone else):
- That is my personal bag.
- Wisdom is what's left after we've run out of personal opinions. (Cullen Hightower)
- It was his last personal appearance.
- My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence. (Edith Sitwell, 1887-1964)
- He keeps his personal life to himself.
- I don't think I'm obliged to discuss my personal issues with you.
- Nothing endures but personal qualities. (Walt Whitman, 1819-1892)
- He's the reason why I think confidence is an overrated personal trait.
- The biggest issue is his personal hygiene.
PersonnelThe word personnel is most commonly seen as a noun. Personnel is similar in meaning to staff (i.e., it denotes the people employed in an organisation, business, or service).
- The equipment is first rate, but we need more personnel.
- Clever personnel don't make good analysts. Trained analysts make good analysts.
- We have a personnel issue. (i.e., a problem with our staff)
Interactive ExerciseHere are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.
See Alsoadverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? immoral and amoral its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are nouns? What are adjectives? List of easily confused words