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I was wondering if someone could tell me if the bold word below in my self-made sentence works or not? If it doesn't sound natural, then please let me know what shall I use instead:

Most of the people are passer-byes in your life. People come and go. But there are a few people who you can never forget them.

P.S. I think the sentence is expressive alone, but please let me know if I have to explain more.

  • Most of the people in your life are just passersby. – Teacher KSHuang Jan 23 '17 at 10:18
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    The compound "passer-by" is formed of a noun+preposition, so it follows that the plural is formed by adding .s to the noun to give "passers-by". It's the same as "runners-up" and "hangers-on". Note the hyphens in all those. – BillJ Jan 23 '17 at 11:31
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Google is a great tool, and it's smart too. Have you ever noticed that whenever you make a spelling mistake it tries to correct you, and suggest valid alternatives?

Just by typing passer, Google provided a few suggestions. When I typed the OP's expression in bold passer byes Google opened the page with

enter image description here


So to answer the OP's question, first check the spelling. The singular form is written passerby, but (and this is the interesting part) the suffix -s must be attached to passer and not to the preposition by. Therefore, the plural form is passersby, NOT passerbys.

I would re-write the OP's sentence as

The majority of people in our lives are just passersby.
Most of the people in life / in your life are just passersby.

OR

The majority of people in your life are just passing by.

The phrasal verb, to pass by means to go past

“She would beg from the people passing by”

  • It's a great pity the OP didn't do a preliminary research, if they had, and found the answer their next step might have been to ask: "why" the suffix -s is not attached immediately at the end of the noun. A missed opportunity. – Mari-Lou A Jan 23 '17 at 9:59
  • You're right @Mari-Lou A. I'll try more from now on. :) – A-friend Jan 23 '17 at 11:17

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