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Basic Glossary Usage of People/Persons


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Person is a singular form, and its plural is persons.

Person derives from persona, which refers to an individual. People, on the other hand, derives from populum, and it refers to a group of persons sharing a culture or social environment.

In formal usage, people is most often included to refer to a general group, emphasizing anonymity. "People" generally refers to a greater number and does not consider them individually.
We the people of the United States.

Use persons to indicate any unnamed individuals within the group. "Persons" seems more appropriate when there is an emphasis on the individuals and not simply as part of a population
Will the persons who left their folders on the table please pick them up at their earliest convenience?

Except when individuals are being emphasized, people is generally suggested for use rather than persons.


Sample Usage

People are always looking for a bargain.

The people are being asked to vote in a referendum.

This people is angry.

That Aboriginal people has died out.

This taxi is licensed to hold four persons.

Eight persons shared a single room.

Many people visit the park every day


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