Personal vs. Personnel: What's the Difference?
Personal vs. Personnel: "Personal" relates to individuals or their private matters; "Personnel" refers to the employees of an organization.
"Personal" pertains to private life, individual feelings, or confidential matters. It's about what belongs to you or characterizes you, as in personal belongings or personal opinions. "Personnel," however, is about the people who work for a company or organization. It's a collective term that doesn't refer to one's private life but to one's professional role within a group.
"Personal" can describe things, emotions, or activities related to a specific person, disconnected from others. Personal taste, for example, means what you, specifically, like. It's not about being part of a group. "Personnel" is the exact opposite in that sense. It's not about individuals per se but about being part of a workforce. Personnel management is about overseeing employees, not managing private lives.
The use of "personal" is broad, applying to almost anything related to individuals, from personal trainer to personal statement. It's about one's own experiences or characteristics. "Personnel," in contrast, is used strictly in professional or formal contexts. You would never use "personnel" to describe something belonging to or related to an individual outside of their work context.
"Personal" carries a sense of ownership and intimacy. For instance, a personal letter is written for you, and possibly, only you should read it. It's not meant for a group. "Personnel" lacks that intimacy because it groups individuals together under the umbrella of their workplace. Personnel files, for example, contain no intimate secrets, just work-related information.
"Personal" is an adjective, while "personnel" is a noun. This grammatical difference underscores their functional difference: "personal" describes, while "personnel" denotes a collective group. You use "personal" to qualify something as related to a person, while you use "personnel" to refer to a group of people working together.
Part of Speech
Relating to an individual
Employees of an organization
Private life, individuality
Relation to Privacy
Intimate or confidential
Work-related, not private
Personal and Personnel Definitions
Personal: Unique to a specific individual.
Her personal style is quite eclectic.
Personnel: The employees of or people belonging to an organization.
All personnel must attend the meeting.
Personal: Done by a person themselves, not by others.
This requires a personal touch.
Personnel: People employed in an enterprise or on a task.
The shop's personnel are very helpful.
Of or relating to a particular person; private
“Like their personal lives, women's history is fragmented, interrupted” (Elizabeth Janeway).
Personnel: The body of persons employed in some public service, as the army, navy, etc.
Military personnel are subject to strict rules.
Done, made, or performed in person
A personal appearance.
Personnel: A group of people ready for duty or deployment.
We have skilled personnel for this project.
Done to or for or directed toward a particular person
A personal favor.
Personnel: A department or division of a company focused on staff-related matters.
She works in personnel management.
Concerning a particular person and that person's private business, interests, or activities; intimate
I have something personal to tell you.
(used with pl. verb) The people employed by or active in an organization, business, or service.
Aimed pointedly at the most intimate aspects of a person, especially in a critical or hostile manner
An uncalled-for, highly personal remark.
The department of human resources in an organization.
Tending to make remarks, or be unduly questioning, about another's affairs
As the student debate got heated, it got personal.
Collection of people in an organization, such as employees and office staff, members of the military, etc.
Of or relating to the body or physical being
(uncountable) A human resources department.
I've just had a letter from personnel.
Relating to or having the nature of a person or self-conscious being
Belief in a personal God.
The body of persons employed in some public service, as the army, navy, etc.; - distinguished from matériel.
(Law) Of or relating to the person
Personal property as opposed to real property.
Personal jurisdiction as opposed to in rem jurisdiction.
Group of people willing to obey orders;
A public force is necessary to give security to the rights of citizens
(Grammar) Indicating grammatical person.
The department responsible for hiring and training and placing employees and for seting policies for personnel management
A personal item or notice in a newspaper.
Personals A column in a newspaper or magazine featuring personal notices.
Pertaining to persons (human beings as opposed to things or animals).
Of or pertaining to a particular person; relating to, or affecting, an individual, or each of many individuals
Her song was her personal look at the values of friendship.
Dealing with subjects about which one wishes (or people usually wish) to maintain privacy or discretion; not for public view; sensitive, intimate.
You can't read my diary—it is personal.
That's a very personal question.
I can't believe you went through my drawers and looked at all my personal things!
(euphemistic) Intended for sexual use.
Personal lubricant; personal massager
Pertaining to the external or bodily appearance; corporeal; bodily.
Done in person; without an intermediary.
A personal interview
A personal meeting
Relating to an individual, their character, conduct, motives, or private affairs, in an invidious and offensive manner
Personal reflections or remarks
(grammar) Denoting a person or people.
A personal pronoun
One's personal vehicle, as opposed to a company vehicle
An advertisement by which an individual attempts to meet others with similar interests.
One's own property or asset
Pertaining to human beings as distinct from things.
Every man so termed by way of personal difference.
Of or pertaining to a particular person; relating to, or affecting, an individual, or each of many individuals; peculiar or proper to private concerns; not public or general; as, personal comfort; personal desire.
The words are conditional, - If thou doest well, - and so personal to Cain.
Pertaining to the external or bodily appearance; corporeal; as, personal charms.
Done in person; without the intervention of another.
The immediate and personal speaking of God.
Relating to an individual, his character, conduct, motives, or private affairs, in an invidious and offensive manner; as, personal reflections or remarks.
Denoting person; as, a personal pronoun.
A movable; a chattel.
A short newspaper article about a particular person or group
Concerning or affecting a particular person or his or her private life and personality;
A personal favor
For your personal use
I have something personal to tell you
A personal God
He has his personal bank account and she has hers
Particular to a given individual
Of or arising from personality;
Intimately concerning a person's body or physical being;
Indicating grammatical person;
Personal verb endings
Personal: Relating to one's private life.
He doesn't often share personal details.
Personal: Concerning one's body or physical being.
Personal hygiene is very important.
Personal: Intended for private use or possession.
Keep your personal items secure.
Can "personal" be used in formal contexts?
Yes, like in "personal statement" or "personal attorney."
Is "personnel" ever used for individuals?
Rarely, it's mostly used for groups of employees.
Is "personal" synonymous with "private"?
Often, though "personal" can be broader, including physical and emotional aspects.
Can "personnel" refer to non-human resources?
No, it specifically refers to people.
Can "personal" refer to things shared with others?
Typically, no. It usually pertains to individuals and their private matters.
Does "personnel" have a casual usage?
No, it's primarily used in formal or corporate contexts.
Is "personnel" used in the military?
Yes, to refer to military staff or employees.
Can "personal" relate to professional life?
Yes, in terms like "personal development" even in a career context.
Does "personal" concern belongings?
It can, as in "personal property" or "personal belongings."
Does "personal" imply emotional attachment?
It can, as it relates to personal feelings or experiences.
Does "personal" entail responsibility?
Sometimes, especially in matters concerning one's self or possessions.
Does "personnel" imply organization?
Yes, it's about structured groups of people in a workplace.
Is "personal" subjective?
Often, yes. It's related to individual feelings or opinions.
Can "personnel" be automated?
No, it specifically refers to human employees.
Is "personnel" collective?
Yes, it always refers to a group of employees.
Does "personnel" refer to staff quality?
Indirectly. It denotes staff but doesn't describe their qualities.
Can "personnel" include temporary staff?
Yes, it encompasses all staff, temporary or permanent.
Is "personal" private?
Generally, yes, it's related to private life or matters.
Is "personnel" about individual identities?
No, it's about people's roles within organizations.
Can "personal" be exclusive?
Yes, it often pertains to something reserved for an individual.
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.