Forums · General English Grammar & Vocabulary, Listening & Speaking · General English Grammar Questions
Guest:Is the word "persons" gramatically correct or just socially acceptable? If it is gramatically correct how should it be used?
maj:You usually say one person but two people, three people, four people. This is to say that "people" is the plural of person. However, persons can be used as the plural in formal or legal language.
Persons with neck problems.
Persons who wish to adopt a child may contact us.
In very formal contexts, persons is preferable to people in situations like the examples given, but anytime else, it just seems pretentious. You'll probably end up using "people" most of the time, but it is nice to know what the distinction is anyway, even if you choose not to use it.
Anonymous:"Persons" is seldom used in the English langauge (I am from England and was looking this up myself) "People" is more commonly used.
Most would argue that the second is correct, but either can be used. Although, I have found older people genrally use "Persons" so if you used that in England you could be pretty much thought of as posh so there we have it.
Persons or people, can be used in the same context! Use whichever you please but do bear in mind that if you were to take an exam the marker may think that "People" is more accurate and you may loose a mark.
To stay on the safe side I would use "people" but it's your descion!
Anonymous:It is most probably just acceptable and not an actual word, for it is what I call "fake plural" like the word deers. Though they use it thoroughly in books.
Let me assure you that the word 'persons' is a real word. I'm amazed that anyone would suggest that it isn't.
Anonymous:Of course its a real word! Persons is a real word! OK
Anonymous:"People" is human beings in general or considered collectively. A person is a human being regarded as an individual.If you are referring to two humans, yes, it would be grammatically correct to say persons. It is definitely a word. It is plural for an individual, but does not refer to a collective group of humans.
It could be used in speaking about two humans of a household. For example:
As of right now, Mike and Angie are currently spending $784 on food each month. That is almost $800 on groceries for the only two persons of their household.
It refers to two individuals. It is grammatically correct.
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