Difference between People and Peoples | People vs Peoples

What’s the difference between ‘people’ and ‘peoples’? Is ‘peoples’ the plural form of the word ‘people’? Or does the word ‘peoples’ mean something different from the word ‘people’? Most students new to learning the English Language face this types of confusion. To make sure that students know the meanings of these words, this article will discuss how these words are different from each other.

This article will deal with points that will help students understand how or when to use the words ‘people’ and ‘peoples’. Once they know the meanings of these words, it becomes easier for them to apply these in sentences. Students should go through the following points discussed below to understand the difference properly:

Table Summarising the Difference between People and Peoples

People Peoples
Meaning The word people means a collective group of human beings belonging to a particular/specific nation, community or ethnicity. The word peoples, on the other hand, means the same as ‘people’ but it’s used to denote groups of people belonging to different communities, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, etc.
Usage It is used as a Noun. It is used as a Noun.
Example We, the people of India, believe in secularism. Peoples from different countries participate in the Olympics.

This table shows that though ‘peoples’ looks like the plural form of the word ‘people’, these two words can’t be treated as synonymous and cannot be used interchangeably. Students are often puzzled about these kinds of words. The simple trick to differentiate is to look at the meanings and contexts used in sentences given to them. Once they acknowledge the difference between these words, they can apply them in correct contexts.

The Difference between People and Peoples – Meanings

Though the word ‘peoples’ is the plural form of the word ‘people’, they don’t mean the same thing. So, while using these words, students have to be extremely careful. When the word ‘people’ is used, it refers to a particular group of people belonging to a nation/community/race/ethnicity, for example, ‘The people of the United States of America chose Joe Biden as their president’, whereas the word ‘peoples’ is used when one is referring to groups of human beings belonging to different nations/communities/ethnicities etc., for example, ‘The peoples of our world follow different religious beliefs.’ Once this difference is clear, students can use these words correctly in sentences of their own.

Examples of People and Peoples

The following examples will help students understand the words ‘people’ and ‘peoples’ quite clearly.

Peoples – The peoples of the neighbouring islands have lived in harmony for years. (noun)

People – The people of India follow different religions and live peacefully. (noun)

A careful observation of the contexts used in the above examples here will give the students a clue about the kinds of sentences these can be used in.

People and Peoples – Conclusion

In conclusion, the word ‘peoples’, though is the plural form of the word ‘people’ is not synonymous to the latter. This article points out the difference between ‘people’ and ‘peoples’ to make it easy for students to use these words effectively both in writing and speaking. Also, BYJU’S offers various articles on many such ‘Difference Between’ two words’ that students often get confused with.


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