Language tip of the week: person

Posted by on January 31, 2013

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English which learners often find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week some advice about the noun person:

The usual plural form of person is people (not persons), and this is used in all ordinary contexts:
✗ Children imitate persons and situations they see on television.
✓ Children imitate people and situations they see on television.
✗ My neighbour is one of the nosiest persons I know.
✓ My neighbour is one of the nosiest people I know.

The form persons is used only in specialized contexts, especially in laws and legal documents, police reports, and public notices:
The coroner’s verdict was murder by a person or persons unknown.

More language tips

Browse the list under the ‘language tips‘ tag here on the blog for more useful language tips.

Would you like to improve your vocabulary? Follow our daily tweets @MacLearnEnglish or visit our Learn English Facebook Page.

Leave a Comment
* Required Fields Notify me of follow-up comments via email