As you are probably aware, our contemporary English content is now available through Lexico.com (https://www.lexico.com/en), and our old English dictionary site no longer exists.

As a result of this, this forum is now closed.

The English dictionary community team would like the opportunity to say a huge thanks to all of you who participated by posting questions and helping other community members.
We hope this forum was useful, and that you enjoyed being a part of it.

If you would like to get in touch with any OED-related queries, please write to
[email protected]

And if you would like to contribute suggestions to the OED, please do so by visiting: https://public.oed.com/contribute-to-the-oed/

Thank you very much indeed, and good bye!
The community team

People singular or plural

Which one is corrcet?
The English people are a good people.
The English people is a good people.

Comments

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018

    Ahzee, the phrase a people is very rare in English. Personally, I would only use it for sweeping historical generalisations such as

    The English have long been a people that looked out across the sea

    I don't think I would ever describe those who live in England today as a people.

    There is a phrase the people, but this means more or less 'not the leaders'.

    For men and women in general, we say people — without a or the. Although the NOUN form is SINGULAR, it's always followed by a PLURAL verb form. So

    English people are good

    is grammatical, but

    English people is good

    is ungrammatical.

    If you wan't to have people at the end of the sentence, the best choice is

    The English are good people.

    [PLURAL are because the English is a PLURAL expression
    Almost any sentence starting The English is would be ungrammatical.

    An exception is when talking about language For example

    The English is terrible because it's badly translated from French.]

    It's not ungrammatical to say

    The English are a good people

    but it sounds strange.

    It's completely ungrammatical to say

    The English is a good people

    PS The phrases the peoples and peoples are possible in very unusual contexts. But these are even rare than a people.

Sign In or Register to comment.