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I am currently writing papers on the immigration pattern in the US throughout history. I came across a problem that I have never been taught before (I am a ESL speaker) about the plurality of the people of a certain nation.

Would the plural of the people German nationality "the Germans" or "the German"? Is the "s" necessary to turn it into a plural noun? I have this question because I know that the plural of the people of Chinese nationality is "the Chinese" but not "the Chineses."

Is there any rule to this? If so, what would be the plural form for the people of Irish nationality or Indian nationality?

marked as duplicate by Centaurus, ScotM, Drew, FumbleFingers, user66974 May 14 '15 at 5:22

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  • Can you give a little more context? Both are potentially correct, depending on your context. For example "Germans speak German" vs "German people speak German". – Catija May 14 '15 at 0:06
  • @centaurus Nice, not every day you get to cite a duplicate to your own question. :) – Lumberjack May 14 '15 at 1:06

This has nothing to do with "people of a nation"


Look at all the sheeps.

This is wrong. The correct sentence is:

Look at all the sheep.

As is this:

Look at all the cats.

English is full of special cases, you just need to learn them all. And no, there are no rules.

Oh, and people of Ireland are "the Irish". I am actually not sure if there is a plural form of the people of India.

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    "Sheep" is a bad example because the plural of "sheep" is "sheep". I don't see how this answers the question... Plural form of "Indian" is "Indians"... – Catija May 14 '15 at 0:10
  • @Catija and the plural of Chinese is Chinese. You really can't see the connection? It's not rocket science. The plural of "the people of India" is usually not "the Indians", I have never heard it such. Is English your native language? – aaa90210 May 14 '15 at 0:18
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    I see the connection there but that's not what the OP is asking at all. Yes, English is my native language. In fact, there's regularly confusion in clarifying if one means Indians from India or actually means Native Americans. – Catija May 14 '15 at 0:18
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    Clearly, Wikipedia agrees with me, too. – Catija May 14 '15 at 0:38
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    -1 @Catija That was me. The answer isn't even accurate! For a GOOD answer to this question, check out the answer provided by Jon Hanna when this question was asked in February of 2014. – Lumberjack May 14 '15 at 1:12

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