The Distinction Between People and Persons

March 13, 2024

The Difference Between People and Persons

History: The words “people” and “persons” both have roots in Old English, but they have evolved differently in terms of usage over time. “People” is derived from the Latin word “populus,” while “persons” comes from the Old French word “person,” ultimately originating from the Latin word “persona.”

How to Use: Generally, “people” is the more commonly used term when referring to a collective group of individuals, while “persons” is typically reserved for more formal or legal contexts. However, these distinctions are not always strict, and both words can be used interchangeably in many situations.

Trick to Remember the Difference: A simple trick to remember the difference is that “people” is more casual and versatile, whereas “persons” is more formal and often used in legal or technical contexts.

Examples of Using “People”:

1. People enjoy going to the beach in the summer.

2. The concert was attended by thousands of people.

3. People from all walks of life came together for the charity event.

4. People around the world celebrate different cultural festivals.

5. People need to respect each other’s differences.

Examples of Using “Persons”:

1. All persons entering the building must show identification.

2. Two persons were involved in the car accident.

3. The contract is binding for all parties and interested persons.

4. Persons with medical conditions should consult a doctor before using the product.

5. The company is responsible for ensuring the safety of all persons on the premises.


While both “people” and “persons” can refer to individuals, “people” is more commonly used in everyday language to denote a group or collective, whereas “persons” is often employed in formal or legal settings. However, the distinction between the two words is not always strict, and they can be used interchangeably in many contexts.