Populace vs. Populous

How to use "populace" and "populous" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

Populace and populous are homophones (or homonyms); they have the same pronunciation but different meanings (though they both have to do with groups of people).

Populace is a noun that means “population” or “the common people”:

tyrant intimidated the populace

Populous is an adjective that describes a place with a large population:

populous region with a high birth rate

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.