Person, persons or people?Grammar > Person, persons or people?
We use person in the singular to refer to any human being:
- Joel is such a nice person.
- She’s a person I have a lot of respect for.
Persons (plural) is a very formal word. We only use it in rather legalistic contexts:
[notice in a lift]
- Any person or persons found in possession of illegal substances will be prosecuted.
To refer to groups of human beings or humans in general, we use people:
- I saw three people standing on the corner.
Not: I saw three persons …
- Jim and Wendy are such nice people.
- People are generally very selfish.
- Three people were interviewed for the job, but only one person had the right qualifications and experience.