Many non-native English speakers wonder, is it “people is” or “people are”?

The Answer: It’s “people ARE.”

Part of the confusion might be because the pronouns “everybody” and “everyone” take “is”. 

So, since “everybody” is considered singular, you would think “people” would work the same way – but it doesn’t. 

“Everyone” means 1 group or (or crowd or bunch/) of people – it is the 1 group aspect that is singular. 

For example: Everyone is going to the concert.  Everybody is excited.

It is the same collective idea as “audience,” which is also singular.

No matter how many people are in the audience, it’s just one audience at one particular concert, so …

For example: The audience is happy and everyone is going wild. 

Meanwhile … 


“People” is a plural noun and it is actually the plural form of “person”: 

One individual is a PERSON. Two individuals are two PEOPLE. 

Say it again: “1 person but 2 or more people!” 

Please note: remember to use the plural verb form for people with other verbs and tenses: 

People eat, people have gone, people are playing, people were watching, etc.

How to remember this? 

Well, if you speak Spanish, French, or Portuguese it works the same way for “everyone.”

todo el mundo es, tout le monde est, and todo mundo é. 


Here are some song titles that might help: 

  • People Are Strange (The Doors)
  • People Are People (Depeche Mode)
  • Games People Play (Alan Parsons Project)