Word confusion, part 2

This is a personnel entrance, not a personal one. Pic: © Bryan Ooi | Dreamstime.com

This is a pair of words that I still have to think about sometimes after 13 years in the US: personal and personnel.  They are quite distinct in their meaning but sound a lot alike which makes things more difficult.  Even if I have no problem to pick the right one I am never quite sure whether it is personnel or personell – but that is a different problem.

Here is what those two words mean:

Personal: or pertaining to a single person, or belonging to a person in some way, examples are, personal space, personal trainer, personal remarks, personal belongings.

Personnel: a number of people employed by or active in an organization, business, or service.  Personnel also refers to the department within an organization which deals with its human resources.  Examples are:   “Mary is in charge of personnel issues.”, “They’ve reduced the number of personnel working on the project.”


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