Nowadays, "people" is almost always the right choice when you are talking about more than one person. Some dictionaries don't even include "persons" as the plural of "person" anymore, and the few dictionaries that do include "persons" note that it is uncommon, archaic, or going out of style.

Traditionally, "people" was proper when referring to a mass of people:

John couldn't believe how many people were at the wrestling match.


"Persons" was proper when referring to a distinct number of individuals:

John noted that eight persons showed up for the book club meeting.

Grammar Girl
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3 Responses
  1. Sugar Says:

    LOL. i thought persons is a wrong grammar-ed word ..=) thanks for the info . =)


  2. amiable amy Says:

    good job teacher...hehehe...what about this:

    PEOPLES BANK ...yep, a big signage of a bank here in MS...

    hmmm


  3. Sera Melinda Says:

    @Amy,
    Peoples - the human beings of a particular nation or community or ethnic group.


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