How would you rank the following phrases, which more or less describe the same thing, from most to least formal/precise (the chosen term will be used to describe the residents of a city):

  1. London/New York people
  2. Londoner/New Yorker
  3. the people of London/New York
  4. London/New York's populace

My ranking

Formality: 4 >= 3 >> 1 = 2; Precision: 4 >= 2 >= 3 >= 1

I've seen many instances of officials referring to residents of a city as Londoner/New Yorker. I suppose such use is recognised as semi-formal in the least?

Also, could someone explain if there's any differences in using these phrases?

Thank you for your attention!

  • I'd say they all carry the same degree of accuracy ('New Yorker', for instance, being as ambiguous as 'the people of New York' – one assumes the state or city rather than the county of the same name is meant).' Sep 30, 2016 at 14:42
  • How about formality? Which would be the most formal to you?
    – howardck
    Sep 30, 2016 at 17:18
  • 1
    I'd say that 4 is so formal (and / or archaic) that it is almost always better avoided. 'Citizens of New York' is a good formal choice. / I think that 'Londoner' may well cover a broader range along the formal-informal continuum than 'New Yorker', but I'm only really very familiar with the former. 'The people of L/NY' is unmarked-to-becoming-conversational, while (1) is chatty. Sep 30, 2016 at 18:26
  • I'll venture that while #1 is the least formal, it (almost?) refers to something different. The implication with London/New York people is not necessarily that the people live there but that they fit the city—they are the kind of people that live in NY/L, even if they don't, or they are the people that do live there and really embody the city—whereas others could live there and not embody the city
    – Unrelated
    Oct 10, 2016 at 23:57
  • A Londoner doesn't necessarily live in London, and the population of London aren't necessarily all Londoners. Oct 14, 2016 at 23:45

1 Answer 1


There is no question of formality. The examples each mean something different.

City people are people in general who either come from or now live in and feel part of City

A Cityer is one person who either comes from or now lives in and feels part of City

The people of City are all the people who now live in City, considered as a collection of individuals

City’s populace is all the people who now live in City, considered as a crowd; effectively, as a swarm

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