My brother was telling me about a test he had when he was in elementary school. It was about plural words, and the word was person. He wrote people, instead of persons because he had never heard of persons being used. I thought it quite clever for a young student, though he got it wrong. Funny that he has remembered it for all these years!
What do you think? Would you have marked it wrong? I am not sure what I would have done. While I have seen persons in use ("missing persons"), still, isn't people in some way considered somewhat a plural? After all these years, I'd like to give him a 100% on that test.
Right as far as I'm concerned.
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The idea that "people" is not the plural of "person" is one of these prescriptions that arose in the 19th century. Some people thought that you shouldn't use "people" with "many" or "several". Some people even felt that you should only use "people" with large round numbers. If you use a number like 2 or 5, then you should use "persons".This message has been edited. Last edited by: goofy,
Goofy, I am always impressed with your knowledge of the background of words. Figures that it's another prescriptivist idea.