Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 66 – Person Persons People

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie

Person / Persons / People



We all know that “person” is a singular word in English, but what is the plural? Is it “persons” or “people”, or both?

In General English the plural of “person” is “people”.

We say:

  • One person; two people;
  • There were 20 people at my party;
  • There are a lot of people in this room.

In Legal English we use “persons” as the plural of “person”, because we wish to define specific individuals in a legal or regulatory context.

In Legal English the word “persons” includes legal persons (persone giuridiche) as well as natural persons (persone fisiche), and by using “persons” we stress that we are referring to the legal position of these persons.

We say:

  • Any persons found trespassing (violazione di domicilio) will be prosecuted
    (perseguite penalmente);
  • Persons with disabilities are entitled to (hanno diritto alla) social protection under the law;
  • All persons involved in the transaction must provide valid identification;
  • The contract explicitly states the rights and obligations of the involved persons.

We do not use “persons” in a general English context. If I say “There were 20 persons at my party”, then I am in fact saying “There were 20 legal and natural persons at my party (20 persone giuridiche e fisiche alla mia festa)”.

Finally, please remember that “people” must be followed by the the plural form of the verb. We say:

  • The people are here (la gente è), not “people is”;
  • People work hard (le gente lavora), not “people works”.

Thank you very much, and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your legal English.


See more about The Natural Person, Legal Entity or Juridical Person and Juridical Personality here: “The Natural Person, Legal Entity or Juridical Person and Juridical Personality Personality” (.PDF).

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