Singular or Plural Third Person: la gente | SpanishDict Answers
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3 Vote

I was certain "la gente" should take the third person singular until a student said, "But Ms. Butler it's 'the people are' not 'the people is', which got me thinking, and I think "la gente son" sounds pretty good, but "la gente es" doesn't seem wrong either. What do my fellow Spanish learners and teachers think?

  • Posted Mar 3, 2010
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  • Big difference lachelvi. "People are" in English, but "la gente es" in Spanish... always :) - Benz Mar 3, 2010 flag

4 Answers

1 Vote

From Diccionario panhispánico de dudas del RAE

En el español general, este sustantivo femenino se emplea como nombre colectivo no contable y significa ‘personas’: «La gente acudía a su bar»


Como otros nombres colectivos, admite un plural expresivo, usado casi exclusivamente en la lengua literaria: «Fue ella quien me introdujo en las cosas, en las comidas, en las gentes de aquí» .

In literature the plural


La divergencia entre su referente (plural) y su número gramatical (singular) puede dar lugar a errores de concordancia


En el español de ciertas zonas de América, especialmente en México y varios países centroamericanos, se usa también con el sentido de ‘persona o individuo’, es decir, como sustantivo contable y no colectivo; con este sentido, su uso en plural es obligado cuando se desea aludir a más de una persona:

This page also has several questions and answers posted regarding the use of collective nouns in Spanish colectivos

2 Vote

Very confusing for English and spanish students alike, my studenst insist on :

The people is here. there is a lot of people here.confused

and studenst of Spanish insist:

La gente son aquí. confused

well, won't do, it is singular in Spanishwink

La gente es agradable, la gente está aquí. grin

1 Vote

La gente es singular, pues sea "la gente es." No importa que en inglés people puede ser una palabra plural.

However, it becomes tricky. Like when one says, "They are friendly people", which would be "Son gente amable" (I think). Gente is still singular, but the subject is actually (an unwritten) "they" in this case -- not gente.

Because one may frequently encounter "Son gente" (Gente being a singular word grammatically but representing a plural concept), and because Spanish frequently puts the subject after the verb (which it is not doing in "Son gente"), then one's brain may feel comfortable hearing "la gente son" (but I don't believe it is correct at all).

My two cents, which may be wrong completely.

Regardless, the fact that, in English, people can be plural has nothing to do with what la gente is in Spanish. Spanish is Spanish. English is English.

0 Vote

3rd person plural of preparar

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