Updated: Mar 28
The English language can be tricky, and there are many words that can be confusing, especially when they are similar in spelling and pronunciation. Three such words that often cause confusion are people, peoples, and persons. In my lesson today, I'm going to explain the difference between these words and provide examples of how they are used.
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Check out my video lesson on the difference between people, peoples, and persons.
People is a plural noun that refers to a group of individuals. It is used when we are talking about a collective group of human beings without reference to their individual identities.
Example: The people of Japan celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival every year.
Peoples is also a plural noun, but it is used to refer to distinct groups of individuals who share a common cultural, ethnic, or national identity.
Example: The indigenous peoples of Australia have a rich cultural heritage.
Persons is the plural form of person and is used when referring to individuals as distinct entities.
Example: The police are searching for two persons of interest in connection with the robbery.
It is important to note that persons is a more formal term than people, and it is often used in legal, official, or academic contexts.
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In summary, though these words look like they mean the same thing, the difference between people, peoples, and persons lies in their meanings and how they are used. People is used to refer to a group of individuals without reference to their individual identities, peoples refers to distinct groups of individuals sharing a common identity, and persons is used when referring to individuals as distinct entities, often in more formal contexts. Understanding the differences between these words can help you use them correctly in your writing and avoid confusion.