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I refuse to look after other people's belongings.

I refuse to look after other peoples' belongings.

Which is correct?

We're talking about the belongings that potentially belong individually to every other person.

Not a dupe of 'people' vs 'peoples' as this is talking about the possessive of 'peoples'.

  • I would lean to the first, as people in itself is a collective term, therefore it need not be pluralised. Therefore the belongings of anyone else would be "other people's" belonging. However I cannot back this claim up, I would be intrigues to see other responses – nickson104 Jul 2 '15 at 9:00
  • possible duplicate of "People" or "peoples" when referring to an indigenous population? – deadrat Jul 2 '15 at 9:07
  • ... and once the people / peoples issue is settled, the remaining point about correct apostrophisation is genref. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 2 '15 at 9:51
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People as a plural of person is a mass noun, and we don;t use a plural -s. So when forming a possessive, we only add the 's:

I refuse to look after other people's belongings.

However, people can also be countable, when we refer to a(n ethic) group of persons: the Belgian people, the British people. Although a bit contrived, you could be referring to belongings that are the property of such groups.

For example:

The artwork from the Acropolis belong to the Greek people. Some of them are now in the British museum, but I don't see why they should look after other peoples' belongings.

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