[lit-ideas] Re: grades & kleenex

  • From: JulieReneB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 00:39:34 EDT

Any guidance on explaining the difference between "people" and "persons" to a 
twelve year old would be appreciated.  She asked yesterday.  Although I have 
a pretty firm intuitive grasp of the difference and would have thought it easy 
enough to explain, I found myself at a total loss.  I use the two differently 
and consistently differently but suddenly I find it impossible to articulate 
a logical definitional distinction.  "Collective" vs. "plurally individual" or 
"individual plurality" doesn't mean much to a 6th grader....(or is that a 
distinction only learned later on and experientially?).
Julie Krueger
>- (also still confused
> by the plural of person as well: "people" or "persons")??.

I think that depends on the context. But I'm not sure.  So I gave up and
googled, and found something genuinely interesting (IMO).  Not only is our
charity that helps what it calls "missing  people" and their families
called The National Missing Persons Helpline, but, the use of "persons"
rather than "people" is both widespread and not new. 

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