People’s or Peoples’: Which is Correct? (Example Sentences)

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There are sometimes debates over whether peoples’ or people’s is the correct form of the possessive for “people.” So, which one should you use?

The truth is, people’s is always the correct possessive form of “people.” Let’s explore why in this blog post.

Singular NounPlural NounSingular PossessivePlural Possessive
personpeopleperson’speople’s

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People

“People” is a plural noun of person.

  • One person
  • Two people
  • Three people
  • Four people
  • Etc.

Peoples

Peoples is not a word. This is because the noun “people” is already plural and doesn’t require an s.

Similar plural nouns that don’t take an s: children, women, men, sheep, fish, teeth.

People’s

People’s is the possessive form of “people.” If some people own something, we use an apostrophe + s.

Examples of Sentences with People’s

Here are some examples to show when to use people’s in a sentence.

  • The People’s Choice Awards were announced today.
  • The people’s reaction to the news was mixed.
  • We surveyed the people’s opinions as part of the study.
  • The people’s needs must be our priority.
  • The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949.
  • Mother Theresa touched many people’s lives.

In each of these examples, people’s is the possessive form of “people.” It shows that something belongs to a group of people.

Peoples’

Peoples’ is not a word. That would assume that “people” ends in s. “People” is a plural noun without the s. Therefore, we cannot write peoples’ or peoples’s.

Person’s

Person’s is the possessive form of “person.” If a person owns something, we use an apostrophe + s.

Examples of Sentences with Person’s

Here are some examples to show when to use person’s in a sentence.

  • This is the person’s laptop.
  • The person’s belongings were packed in a suitcase.
  • We interviewed the person’s references before making a decision.
  • Please respect the person’s privacy.

Possessive Nouns: Summary

When we want to show that something belongs to someone or something, we use a possessive noun.

Singular Possessive Nouns

We can make singular nouns possessive by adding an apostrophe + s.

For example, the dog’s bone and the child’s toy.

Plural Possessive Nouns

We can make plural nouns possessive, for example, the actors’ costumes. Normally, we just need to add an s + apostrophe.

The main exception is when the word is plural and doesn’t end in s. In this case, we just add an apostrophe before the s, for example, the people’s demands.

Here are some more examples of nouns and their possessive forms:

Singular NounPlural NounSingular PossessivePlural Possessive
catcatscat’scats’
teacherteachersteacher’steachers’
boyboysboy’sboys’
personpeopleperson’speople’s
womanwomenwoman’swomen’s
manmenman’smen’s

In Conclusion

Sometimes it is confusing to know the difference between people’s and peoples’. As a common noun that doesn’t have an s in its plural form, it acts similarly to a singular possessive noun by adding the apostrophe+ s (people’s) in the possessive.

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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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