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  1. #1
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Key Member
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    'This people' explained in grammar books

    I know we can use the word 'people' in singular - a people. So, logically, we can say 'this people' in certain contexts. But I can't find any grammar books or dictionaries that would explain this use of 'people' with examples (because my students have doubts about the singular use of people in the combination 'this people', and I want to prove my words with some respectful grammar book or dictionary. So far, I've failed to do it. Could you help?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. #2
    J&K Tutoring Guest

    Re: 'This people' explained in grammar books

    I have a cartoon that shows a bunch of scientists studying a blackboard covered with complicated mathematical equations. The caption reads, "Proving the Existence of Fish". The joke is there is a fish sitting in the audience.

    Physicists posit the existence of new elements from studying the Periodic Table, and then they spend years trying to actually produce these things, but that doesn't mean a high school class should get themselves bogged down in the attempt.

    I suppose you are correct in your logic: There should be some way to bend English grammar around a correct usage of "this people", but why? I think the best advice I can give you and the best advice you can give your students is that they should avoid this particular usage as it is hard to get right and very rare. They should focus their attention on more common usage.

  3. #3
    Rover_KE is online now Moderator
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    Re: 'This people' explained in grammar books

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I doubt if I have used the phrase in 70 years of speaking English.
    Ditto, but 77.

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: 'This people' explained in grammar books

    I did a search in https://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/ and there were some examples, some bizarre, a couple of religious ones and some dated examples from texts when we used to talk more stereotypically about other cultures. However there are examples to back you up. Just enter it as a search string.

  5. #5
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Re: 'This people' explained in grammar books

    Well, but the sentence 'The Vietnamese are a friendly people' doesn't mean exactly the same as 'The Vietnamese are friendly people'. So, if I say "I like the Vietnamese. This people is very friendly', will I sound unnatural? I mean, can't a native speaker of English say so?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is online now Moderator
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    Re: 'This people' explained in grammar books

    Quote Originally Posted by [U
    englishhobby[/U];1352387]So, if I say "I like the Vietnamese. This people is very friendly', will I sound unnatural? Very unnatural.
    I mean, can't a native speaker of English say so? No
    Forget it.

  7. #7
    teechar's Avatar
    teechar is offline Moderator
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    Re: 'This people' explained in grammar books

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    So, logically, we can should be able to say 'this people' in certain contexts.
    Here's one context I thought of. Imagine you had two signs made of plastic and spelling the word "people." You might point to one of them and say:
    This people needs to be painted again.

  8. #8
    Tarheel's Avatar
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    Re: 'This people' explained in grammar books

    The phrase you are looking for is "respected grammar book or dictionary".

  9. #9
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: 'This people' explained in grammar books

    Or respectable.
    I am not a teacher.

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