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Please consider the below sentence:

Dean Shrivastava and his __ of twenty faculty members took care of the classes.

Which word of the below fits best into the above blank?

a. Gang
b. Team
c. Crew
d. Work Party

To me, all seem to suit fine. However, I cannot figure out which fits best.

Dictionary meanings:

Gang: an organized group of workmen
Team: a cooperative unit
Crew: an organized group of workmen
Work party: an organized group of workmen

These definitions I got from http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/.

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Not "gang", it has negative connotations. If it were me, I'd go with "team", unless you mean to imply that Dean Shrivastava is the leader, then "crew" is better. –  Mr Lister Dec 20 '12 at 7:42
    
Presumably you have looked in a dictionary and found some impartial definitions. Do they really not help? If they don't, it would be good to include the definitions in your question along with why they are not useful. –  Andrew Leach Dec 20 '12 at 8:18
    
Do the 20 other people constitute the faculty, or a subset? If the former, I'd just say Dean Shrivastava and the twenty members of his faculty took care of the classes. –  Edwin Ashworth Dec 20 '12 at 10:47
    
Is 'Dean' a title, or a name? –  Roaring Fish Dec 20 '12 at 11:32
    
@RoaringFish: Dean is title which means the head of a college or university faculty or department –  Ramya Dec 20 '12 at 11:49
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4 Answers

Team.

From my American English viewpoint, gang is frightening, and crew more subtly negative.

Work party sounds weird -- I associate party with a group of people waiting at a restaurant, a diplomatic delegation, or a group on an expedition.

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"Work party" is perfectly normal American English. In some contexts, though, it's working party or work detail: "a specific task assigned to an individual or group, usually entailing physical labour." Common in the military and Boy Scouts. –  user21497 Dec 20 '12 at 10:32
    
"Work party" to me sounds like there's gonna be drinking at work. –  ash Dec 20 '12 at 19:21
    
I think the military and Boy Scout people who created the term deliberately used "party" to put that "fun" spin on it. –  user21497 Dec 20 '12 at 22:16
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Like ash, I would go with team (A number of persons associated in some joint action), but for different reasons.

Gang suggests drug wars and the like ("Any band or company of persons who go about together or act in concert (chiefly in a bad or depreciatory sense, or associated with criminal societies)- OED), and even without them a gang was a bunch of labourers (A company of workmen - OED) which doesn't really suit your sentence.

Crew suggests a bunch of people running a ship, aircraft, or train or in more modern times a retail outlet of some sort, which again doesn't really fit your sentence.

W.ork party is more of an ad hoc thing. OED - "a group of people who come together to carry out a piece of work of mutual or social benefit". Maybe it is just my own experiences, but I tend to associate work party with voluntary and/or conservation work.

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The clue to focus on is that these people are teachers, and taking classes. If they were labourers, gang or crew would be fine (gang does have some criminal overtones, but not enough to make it unusable); if they were press ganged to clear the road outside the college then work party would be normal, but professionals doing their job would prefer to be called a team.

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Dean Shrivastava and his __ of twenty faculty members took care of the classes.

We need to look no further than the existing sentence for the right expression in the given context.

The phrase twenty faculty members already exists, and the fact need not be re-stated.

Dean Shrivastava and a faculty of twenty members took care of the classes.

Helpfully also, the referred Shrivastava happens to be the Dean, so that the other members might be "assigned" to him. (Except that his faculty could have other implications, the primary meaning of faculty being quite another thing.)

Dean Shrivastava and his faculty of twenty members took care of the classes.

Phrasing a sentence appropriately improves readability.

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