People do or does: Which One is Correct?

English grammar can be tricky; even native speakers often stumble upon certain nuances. One common area of confusion is whether to use ‘people do‘ or ‘people does‘ in a sentence. Let’s explain it in simple language.

Understanding the Subject-Verb Agreement

Before diving into the ‘people do’ and ‘people does’ conundrum, it’s important to grasp the concept of subject-verb agreement. In English, the verb in a sentence must match the subject in terms of number. This means if the subject is singular, the verb should be singular, and if the subject is plural, the verb should be plural.

For example:

She plays (singular subject 'she,' singular verb 'plays').
They play (plural subject 'they,' plural verb 'play').

This rule applies to most sentences, making them sound grammatically correct. However, regarding the word ‘people,’ things can get confusing.

The word ‘people‘ is a plural noun, referring to more than one person. Therefore, by applying the subject-verb agreement rule, we should use the plural form of the verb, which is ‘do.’

So, the correct phrase is:

People do.

This is the standard and most widely accepted usage. However, confusion arises when people incorrectly use ‘people does‘ instead. Let’s explore the common mistakes and why they occur.

People do or does: Which One is Correct?

Common Mistakes

Mistake – 1: Treating ‘People’ as Singular

One common error is treating ‘people’ as a singular noun, leading to the use of ‘people does.’ This mistake occurs when someone thinks of ‘people’ as a single entity rather than a group of individuals.

For instance:

Incorrect: People does make mistakes.
Correct: People do make mistakes.
Incorrect: People does enjoy spending time outdoors on a sunny day.
Correct: People do enjoy spending time outdoors on a sunny day.

Remember, ‘people’ is always plural. It refers to multiple individuals, so you should use ‘do’ in the verb form.

Mistake – 2: Mixing up ‘People’ and ‘Person’

Another source of confusion is mixing up ‘people’ and ‘person.’ While ‘people’ is plural, ‘person’ is singular, and the verb should match each respective noun.

For example:

Incorrect: A lot of people does like ice cream.
Correct: A lot of people do like ice cream.

In this case, ‘a lot of people’ is a plural subject, and ‘do’ is the correct verb form.

Mistake – 3: Overthinking the Grammar

Sometimes, people overthink the grammar rules, especially when the sentence structure is complex. This overthinking can lead to the use of ‘people does’ when ‘people do’ is the right choice.

For instance:

Incorrect: Among those who attended the event, people does have different opinions.
Correct: Among those who attended the event, people do have different opinions.
Incorrect: People does not always tell the truth.
Correct: People do not always tell the truth.

Don’t get bogged down by complicated sentence structures. Remember the basic rule: ‘people’ is plural, so use ‘do.’


In the debate between ‘people do’ and ‘people does,’ the answer is clear: ‘people do’ is the standard and most commonly used form. ‘People’ is a plural noun, so the plural verb should follow it ‘do.’

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