Possible Duplicate:
Person, Persons, People, Peoples
Correct usage of “persons” (vs. “people”)

What's the correct plural of person? Persons or people?

  • 3
    Yes. But the second is the normal choice. Mar 23, 2012 at 14:08
  • Here is a good explanation of when persons is the more usual choice: ( worldwidewords.org/articles/people.htm )
    – Shoe
    Mar 23, 2012 at 14:19
  • A technicality: 'people' is a plural of 'person' only by the fiddle of suppletion (a fudge to fill an observed gap). Jan 10, 2020 at 20:42

2 Answers 2


Both are correct and both are required in English language, you just have to know how to use them.

People denotes a group, an unspecified number of people, for example:

The people in the area have been warned about the possible risks.

Persons refers to persons individually and denotes an exact number which can be, or should be able to, expressed in numbers, for example:

Which persons are responsible for this fire?

Remember that persons is usually used in law and legal documents, like:

Lessor shall not be responsible for damage to Lessee’s vehicle, whether or not such damage is caused by other vehicles or persons in the parking lot and surrounding area.

Only such persons who are nominated in accordance with the procedures set forth in this section ...

  • The reason for the legal usage is that 'persons' may include companies and the like (legal persons), while 'people' probably means living and breathing. Mar 23, 2012 at 14:22

Both are correct, and people has overtaken persons for general situations.

Most often in causal conversation, you will hear people used. Persons is used in more formal constructs.

enter image description here

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.