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  1. #1
    nat.tribe Guest

    Question 'People' vs. 'Persons'

    Can anybody give me full explanation of the differences between the usage of 'People' vs. 'Persons'. In St. Lucia, I always hear 'Persons' being used instead of 'People', on the radio and on T.V.
    Are there any examples of sentences where the two can not be used to convey the same meaning?

  2. #2
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: 'People' vs. 'Persons'

    Quote Originally Posted by nat.tribe View Post
    Can anybody give me full explanation of the differences between the usage of 'People' vs. 'Persons'. In St. Lucia, I always hear 'Persons' being used instead of 'People', on the radio and on T.V.
    Are there any examples of sentences where the two can not be used to convey the same meaning?
    When talking about individuals, we can say "1 person" and "2 (or more) persons", but "people" can only be used for more than one.

    "4 people" and "4 persons" are interchangeable, but in North America "4 people" is much more commonly said.

    When referring to a large group of people, for example all the people living in St. Lucia, we can say 'the people of St. Lucia' but we don't say 'the persons of St. Lucia.'
    Last edited by 2006; 06-May-2008 at 06:27.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 'People' vs. 'Persons'

    The words 'people' and 'persons' can both be used as the plural of person, but they are not used in exactly the same way. 'People' is by far the more common of the two words and is used in most ordinary contexts:
    'a group of people'
    'there were only about ten people there'
    'several thousand people marched on parliament'

    'Persons' tends to be restricted to official or formal contexts, as in :
    "This vehicle is authorized to carry twenty persons."
    "The murder was committed by person or persons unknown."

    'persons' is pointing to each individual, even if they are in a 'group of people' and is used to stress the official, formal, and strict, unfriendly sounding nature of the notice:
    "This information should not be disclosed to any unauthorized persons."

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