Learning English to be..

short-staffed vs. understaffed! What's the difference?

Is there a difference between the two terms? Prior to the discussion let me use these two terms first in sentences. Just really snippy!

The company where I am working went bankrupt so, to cope up with financial crisis the planning department was intentionally understaffed.
The President was angry at the manager due to mass resignation of employees last month. It was really tough because a short-staffed company could not function quickly.
Look at the examples: both terms imply the same meaning. Understaffed is an adjective which means not having enough workers while short-staffed in the second sentence also is an adjective which literally means having too few or fewer than the usual number of staff. So, where can these two words differ? Lucidly speaking, understaffed is the past and past participle form of the verb understaff. From freedictionary.com understaff means to supply with fewer employees than required. For instance, "The Management was very careful not to understaff the company". Although, I checked some dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster, Oxford and Macmillan, these three did not give me a result after I entered the word understaff but trying to find the difference of these two terms the freedictionary by Farflex online gave me the answer. Perhaps, from the result I got from freedictionary understaffed is the past and past participle form of the transitive verb understaff as mentioned earlier. But why does understaffed function as an adjective? That's verb flexibility. Verbs in its past participle forms can function as an adjective. How about short-staffed? Short-staffed is only short-staffed. It is only used as an adjective. It has no other form. Now, Is your company short-staffed? or Is your company understaffed? Either ways you can say it. But I hope your company is not.


cafetalk, 15-06-12 18:36, 15-06-12 18:46, Marz

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16-10-16 15:53, fmt