I would like to promote mutual understanding between two peoples

Is the -s added on the word people a mistake or an abbreviation that can be interpreted as the following?

I would like to promote mutual understanding between two country's people.

1 Answer 1


No, you can't say peoples when you're referring to a bunch of people. That's a blatant mistake. The word people is already plural. The singular form of people is person. So, it's one person if we're talking about a single individual and it's people if we're talking about more than one individual.

However, you can say peoples in situations when you're talking about different ethnic groups. In this case, a people basically means a nation and peoples means more than one nation (ethnic group is a better definition though because the word nation is rather a political concept). So, it's neither a mistake nor an abbreviation. It's perfectly valid English grammar.


The native peoples of Canada number more than 40 ethnic groups.

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    Your second paragraph is good (although I think you mean "ethnic" not "ethical"). However, your assertion that his example sentence contains a blatant mistake is completely incorrect! You would use "peoples" in that context precisely because you were speaking about the people of two different nations or groups. There is no mistake in it. In fact, if you said "between two people," you would mean exactly two persons. Dec 23, 2017 at 23:18
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    Well, I didn't read it like that for some reason. I thought he was talking about two individuals. Context is kind. What else can I say? Dec 23, 2017 at 23:21
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    Yes, sorry, I obviously got your reading at the end. I think the way the OP rewrote it with "two country's people" provides the needed context, though. Dec 23, 2017 at 23:23
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    I thought he was talking about two country people. People who live in the country. You know what I mean? Probably, that 's threw me off. (and by the way, it should be context is king, not context is kind. Just a minor typo) Dec 23, 2017 at 23:26
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    The "peoples" in this instance is merely talking about two separate groups of people.
    – Nick
    Dec 24, 2017 at 0:56

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