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Plural persons vs people[edit]

  • I heard on NPR that the "UN day of disabled persons" is coming up. (I'm not sure when it is persons and when people.) RJFJR 15:19, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

persons in place of people[edit]

To RJFJR: Teachers have been using "persons" in place of people for the past several years. This personalizes (literally) the word people and avoids the un-PC stigma of appearing ethnocentric. It also creates a sometimes redundant and confusing vocabulary especially for students. These terms and many others are becoming more common among educators of non-English speakers, of ELL students (English Language Learners, a supposed refining of the term ESL - English as a Second Language), and of special education students. What the technical term is for this refining/obfuscating/slanging, I don't know, but surely there is one. Academics, politicians, propagandists, advertisers, and wanna-be intellectuals have been doing it for centuries, at least. As uncomfortable as it makes me when I submit and succumb, undeniably the habit is essential to augmenting and refining a language. "Wayne Roberson, Austin, Texas" 3-13-08 3:19pm CST.

Usage notes on plural[edit]

Please take a look at the usage notes for my effort to explain. It is possible it should be longer. I hadn't thought about this before, so I might have blundered. DCDuring TALK 10:12, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Related or derived?[edit]

Are cat person and dog person related terms or derived terms? --Tyranny Sue 13:40, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Derived.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 14:55, 25 December 2009 (UTC)

Masculine or neutral gender?[edit]

'The person eats his cake' or 'The person eats its cake'?

Or would it even be correct to say 'The person eats her cake' if the person is female?

His cake. If you know that the person is female, you would not say would say woman, girl, lady, or she. When you say person, it usually means that you don’t know (or don’t care) whether the sex is male or female. —Stephen 11:10, 11 January 2010 (UTC)
Persons are legal fictions, they can't eat cake. A human who is pretending to be a person can eat cake though. Also, persons do not have genders, they have 'a sex' (or nothing in the case of corporations).


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Rfv-sense "a penis". The reference supplied glosses "expose his person" as "legalese for penis", but "person" in that phrase is really just sense 2, "body". - -sche (discuss) 17:54, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

There is this; on the other hand, see this... I'm not convinced it is anything other than a vague euphemism (certainly the next page of the Powell quotation makes clear that "her person" is not "her penis"). - -sche (discuss) 17:59, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
RFV-failed, because there were only two citations. Even if a third like them can be found, I will challenge on RFD whether they support the sense in question as a sense distinct from the general sense. - -sche (discuss) 06:59, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

This sense was later re-added. - -sche (discuss) 23:31, 22 July 2014 (UTC)