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Sweet (?), but picky, Bonni typed: "I correct this in
people's speech too..."
Bonni, MY stuffy advanced grammar prof (I'm sure you know
the type) insisted that _people_ is used to refer to a specific
group, such as a race or nation, and _persons_ is the correct
word for a collection of individuals. The distinction is rarely
made in casual conversation, and my husband hates _persons_, but
such is the fate of one who marries an English major!
BTW, Dr. Thomas (the prof) also insisted that we spead "aloud"
not "out loud."
Well, I just *had* to pick on you, Bonni! (I'm about to go home
for the weekend, anyway.)