Given the following two sentences.

  • There are more than one people.
  • There is more than one people.

Which one of them is grammatical, both of them, any one of them or none of them? The noun people (presumably collective) is generally plural. Therefore, the former sentence seems to be correct (this is usually the case in my local languages).

It is something similar to the case, where zero is (mostly) considered plural though intuitively it should be singular. Moreover, it should be safe to say, there is more than one person instead of saying, there are more than one person. but I'm not sure about people, when used in such constructs. Sorry for this simple question :)

  • 2
    "There is", and "there's" even more so, can be used for any number of things. We have many prior questions on the subject. But that is a red herring, since it should be "more than one person", so neither of your sentences is grammatical in the meaning you envision. – RegDwigнt Feb 11 '14 at 13:04
  • 1
    Please define which use of the word people you mean. – Lambie Jun 23 '18 at 16:36

You could only use people here as a countable word, which is not how it is usually used.

In this case you are not referring to "people" as a group of individuals, but to "a people" as a groups of specific individuals sharing an ethnic, historical, religious, cultural or geographical background.

In that case, you treat people exactly like you would treat person or car:

There is more than one car.
There is more than one person.
There is more than one people.

It is very important to understand you are talking about peoples in that case!

If you do not mean "peoples" as in "populations" (Germans, Dutch, Americans), you cannot use "more than one", since people is then uncountable, like water or stuff:

*There is more than one water.
*There is more than one stuff.
*There is more than one people.

These sentences are (usually) incorrect unless you do actually mean to imply the countable versions!

  • The word "people" is never uncountable. It may be a singular noun or a plural noun, but either way it is countable. – Wildcard Jan 4 at 1:53

There is more than one people is the correct one, if I understand the context you try to achieve. As the word people is defined with one, creating one people, is will be the correct thing to use.


Careful - although it may seem that the "more than one" requires that "people" be used as a plural, the correct form is actually the singular form of "people". This is because, while it looks, at first glance, like the sentence goes like this:

subject: (There) verb: [is/are] modifying phrase: (more than one) which modifies: [people/person]

which would require that both the modified noun (here, "people") and the verb (here, "is"/"are") be pluralised (as in, for instance, "there are two people"), the sentence actually goes like this:

subject: (There) verb: [is/are] modifying phrase: (more than) which modifies: [one people/one person]

and, thus, since the phrase being modified is "one people" or "one person", the modified noun and the verb both have to be in their singular forms.

Now that we know that these both have to be singular, it's very easy to figure out the "correct" form of the sentence:

  1. "Is" and "are" are both forms of "to be". Since the sentence is referring to something(s) and/or someone(s) in the third person, we need the third-person singular form of "to be", which is "is".

  2. Whether the usage of "people" is correct or incorrect depends on which meaning of "people" you're using.

    • If, by "people", you mean "[ethnic/religious/linguistic/whatever] group", then the correct form is "there is more than one people". (In this case, the plural, if needed, would be "peoples".)

    • If, on the other hand, you're using "people" as the plural of "person", then the correct form is instead "there is more than one person".

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