‘persons’ and ‘peoples’

As a general rule, you’re absolutely right – person is used to refer to an individual, and the plural form is people. As you have said, we can also use peoples to talk about different groups within a nation or the world. For example:

The peoples of the world must unite to tackle climate change.
The peoples of India include Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs
.

However, in both these cases, it would also be correct to use the regular plural people instead of peoples, as in:

The people of the world must unite to tackle climate change.
The people of India include Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs
.

In fact, I think that the word peoples is considered slightly old-fashioned and isn’t used as much these days except in formal documents or speeches. Similarly, persons is considered to be quite formal and isn’t used often in day to day language. Here are a couple of examples of when it might be used:

We will be happy to accommodate up to four persons in each room.

This is an example of formal language that may be included in the terms and conditions of a contract or agreement, in this case to do with a hotel.

I was approached by a group of persons unknown to myself.

This is quite an old style of English and you rarely hear this spoken these days.

Interestingly, I noticed when I was working in India that the word persons was used much more regularly than in the UK and this may well be the case for other countries where English is widely spoken.

To complicate matters even further, people can also be used as a singular noun! Look at this example:

The Canadians are a people who enjoy nature and spending time outside.

This is really the only time that you would use it as a singular form though, when you are referring to the citizens of a particular state or country. So basically, both person and people can be used as singular nouns, people can be used as a plural noun and persons and peoples are also acceptable plural forms. I would say that these days, using people as a singular noun and both peoples and persons are fairly uncommon and do sound quite formal.

I hope this helps with your query and that you don’t despair too much with the complexities of the English language!

pain / ache / ill / sick / hurt

Hi Marlene. This is a good question. As a general rule, you’re absolutely right – person is used to refer to an individual, and the plural form is people. As you have said, we can also use peoples to talk about different groups within a nation or the world. For example:
The peoples of the world must unite to tackle climate change.
The peoples of India include Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.
However, in both these cases, it would also be correct to use the regular plural people instead of peoples, as in:
The people of the world must unite to tackle climate change.
The people of India include Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.
In fact, I think that the word peoples is considered slightly old-fashioned and isn’t used as much these days except in formal documents or speeches. Similarly, persons is considered to be quite formal and isn’t used often in day to day language. Here are a couple of examples of when it might be used:

We will be happy to accommodate up to four persons in each room.
This is an example of formal language that may be included in the terms and conditions of a contract or agreement, in this case to do with a hotel.
I was approached by a group of persons unknown to myself.
This is quite an old style of English and you rarely hear this spoken these days.

Interestingly, I noticed when I was working in India that the word persons was used much more regularly than in the UK and this may well be the case for other countries where English is widely spoken.

To complicate matters even further, people can also be used as a singular noun! Look at this example:

The Canadians are a people who enjoy nature and spending time outside.
This is really the only time that you would use it as a singular form though, when you are referring to the citizens of a particular state or country. So basically, both person and people can be used as singular nouns, people can be used as a plural noun and persons and peoples are also acceptable plural forms. I would say that these days, using people as a singular noun and both peoples and persons are fairly uncommon and do sound quite formal.

I hope this helps with your query and that you don’t despair too much with the complexities of the English language!

Reward and Award

REWARD

A reward is given for a positive thing that somebody has done well. For example, working particularly hard, meeting targets, getting a good grade on a test or exam or finding something that someone has lost. This last one is very common and in the UK it is common to see posters about missing cats or dogs or even someone’s keys or wallet which start with the word ‘REWARD’ in big letters. This encourages people to help find whatever it is that has been lost. The actual reward that is given in any of these situations can be anything from money (probably the most common thing) to a special treat like a box of chocolates. Listen to these examples:

As a reward for passing my driving test, my Dad took me to London for the weekend.

The person who finds my cat will receive £100 as a reward.

I’m so pleased with your work I’m going to reward you with two days holiday.

Note the use of the expressions to be rewarded for something and to reward someone with something.

AWARD

Similarly, an award is given for something that is done well but it tends to be more formal and is given to demonstrate to other people that the person has done something well. An award tends to be something like a certificate, or a medal or a statue.

Generally, an award is presented in front of other people while a reward is normally only exchanged between the people giving and receiving the reward. Listen to these sentences:

Louie received an award for getting outstanding results in the maths exam.

We would expect that the award was awarded in the school assembly or at a special presentation event.

Vineet was awarded a gold medal for winning the marathon.

Again, this would normally happen in front of an audience.

An award can also refer to an amount of money that someone is ordered to pay someone else, usually in a court of law. For example:

Peter received an award of £5000 as compensation for the car accident.

Note that the use of the passive is common here: someone is awarded something and that like with reward you receive an award.

I hope this makes it clearer. The main thing to bear in mind is that while both are given for something that has been done well, an award tends to be something bigger and more important than a reward, usually given in front of other people. 

REWARD

A reward is given for a positive thing that somebody has done well. For example, working particularly hard, meeting targets, getting a good grade on a test or exam or finding something that someone has lost. This last one is very common and in the UK it is common to see posters about missing cats or dogs or even someone’s keys or wallet which start with the word ‘REWARD’ in big letters. This encourages people to help find whatever it is that has been lost. The actual reward that is given in any of these situations can be anything from money (probably the most common thing) to a special treat like a box of chocolates. Listen to these examples:

As a reward for passing my driving test, my Dad took me to London for the weekend.

The person who finds my cat will receive £100 as a reward.

I’m so pleased with your work I’m going to reward you with two days holiday.

Note the use of the expressions to be rewarded for something and to reward someone with something.

AWARD

Similarly, an award is given for something that is done well but it tends to be more formal and is given to demonstrate to other people that the person has done something well. An award tends to be something like a certificate, or a medal or a statue.

Generally, an award is presented in front of other people while a reward is normally only exchanged between the people giving and receiving the reward. Listen to these sentences:

Louie received an award for getting outstanding results in the maths exam.

We would expect that the award was awarded in the school assembly or at a special presentation event.

Vineet was awarded a gold medal for winning the marathon.

Again, this would normally happen in front of an audience.

An award can also refer to an amount of money that someone is ordered to pay someone else, usually in a court of law. For example:

Peter received an award of £5000 as compensation for the car accident.

Note that the use of the passive is common here: someone is awarded something and that like with reward you receive an award.

I hope this makes it clearer. The main thing to bear in mind is that while both are given for something that has been done well, an award tends to be something bigger and more important than a reward, usually given in front of other people.