Difference between: person, persons, people and peoples

person, persons, people and peoples. When To Use Each

How to correctly use the words: person, persons, people and peoples

In English, the words “people”, “peoples”, “person”, and “persons” have distinct meanings and usages. Let’s explore each of these words in detail to understand their differences and learn how to use them correctly in various contexts.

  • “People” is the general plural form used to refer to a group of individuals in a broad sense. For example, “There are twenty people in the room”
  • “Peoples” is the plural form of “people” and is used less frequently. It is typically used to refer to various ethnic groups or nations. For example, “The peoples of the world have diverse cultures”
  • “Person” is the singular form used to refer to one individual. For example, “That person is my friend” (Та особа є моїм другом).
  • “Persons” is the formal plural of “person” and is used in legal and official contexts. For example, “No persons under the age of 18 are allowed”

In this article, we will delve deeper into the differences between these words and explain how to use them correctly in different situations.

“Person” – One individual

“Person” is used to refer to a single individual and is a basic noun describing a human being. It is the most standard term and is used in most contexts.


  • She is a kind person.
  • He is the only person who knows the truth.

It is important to note that in official documents and legal texts, the word “person” can also refer to a legal entity or an individual.


  • Every person is entitled to a fair trial.

“Persons” – The plural of “person”

“Persons” is the plural form of “person” and is primarily used in formal and legal contexts, as well as in official documents. This word emphasizes the individuality of each member of a group.


  • The elevator can carry up to 12 persons.
  • The law applies to all persons equally.
  • Persons with disabilities have equal rights.

In modern usage, “persons” is less common and is often replaced by the more familiar term “people.”

“People” – The common plural

“People” is the most common plural form of “person.” It is used to refer to a group of individuals in both spoken and written language. This word is not only universal but also has a more conversational tone compared to “persons.”


  • Many people attended the concert.
  • People often make mistakes.
  • There are many people in the park.

Additionally, the word “people” can be used to refer to a national or cultural group as a whole.


  • The French people are known for their cuisine.
  • The American people voted in the election.
  • The people of Japan are known for their hospitality.

“Peoples” – plural for nations or ethnic groups

“Peoples” is a plural form used to refer to multiple national or ethnic groups. It emphasizes the diversity of nations or cultures.


  • The indigenous peoples of Australia have rich cultural traditions. (Корінні народи Австралії мають багаті культурні традиції.)
  • Various peoples around the world celebrate New Year differently. (Різні народи світу святкують Новий рік по-різному.)

This word is used to highlight the differences and diversity between groups of people, especially in the context of cultural, ethnic, or historical distinctions.

Comparison table of the words people, peoples, person, persons

PersonRefers to one individualHe is a nice person.
PersonsFormal language, legal contextsPersons involved in the case.
PeopleGeneral plural, national groupsPeople love sunny weather.
Plural for nations or ethnic groupsIndigenous peoples have unique cultures.

When studying English, it is crucial to understand the nuances of using words like “person”, “persons”, “people”, and “peoples”, as they have different contexts and meanings. In this article, we explored each of these words, their specific usages, and examples.

  • Use “person” to describe one individual in everyday and most written contexts.
  • Choose “persons” for formal situations where you need to emphasize each individual separately, especially in legal texts.
  • Use “people” to refer to a group of individuals or a national community in most cases.
  • Use “peoples” to describe multiple national or ethnic groups when it is important to highlight their diversity.

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