Should the sentence "Different people are different" be translated as "Différentes personnes sont différentes"?

I'm especially unsure whether to use "personnes" or "gens" since in the plural usually "gens" is used. But since this sentence focuses on the difference between the individuals rather than on people as a group, I think "personnes" is more appropriate. Is that right?

  • Both answers so far correctly point out that more context is needed. Is the English version a simple truism like “Rich people are rich” OR is the first “Different” (before the noun “people”) being used in the word’s “distinct” &/or “various” sense(s) (“Various/distinct people [here today] are different [from us]”). Clarifying this is important because I think “différent” also has this other meaning (distinct/divers/plusieurs) in French when used plurally w/out an article before nouns, which is the exact form used (perhaps coincidentally, but impossible to tell) in your suggested translation.
    – Papa Poule
    Oct 6, 2016 at 14:23
  • @PapaPoule That particular point is clear to me -- I read it to mean "distinct people are diverse"
    – qoba
    Oct 6, 2016 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


Personne is appropriate but your suggestion is unnatural. If it means "every different people is different from each other", I would translate the English sentence by:

Chaque personne est différente.

If it means "People that are different (from the norm) are indeed different", I would translate it by:

Les personnes différentes… le sont !

  • I'm not a native English speaker, but I feel there's something more in Different people are different than in your translation. It sounds more rhetorical, though the sense of the sentence is the same.
    – Tim
    Oct 6, 2016 at 8:44
  • @TimF I got you point, the English sentence can be understood a couple of ways. Answer updated.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 6, 2016 at 8:55

I don't think you can translate this sentence without a context.
In some situation your proposition would be right, even if I wouldn't use it without emphazising it like "Différentes personnes sont, de facto, différentes" ; in some it just doesn't seems right and would be better translated by "Les gens sont différents" or "Personne n'est pareil" (be careful there, this is not the same "personne" as in "personnes", this is the "personne" meaning "no one").
All of these have more or less the same meaning but sounds better depending on the context.

For the meaning difference between "gens" and "personnes", in my opinion it doesn't apply here because of the "différent" which implies that you take individuals and not the group itself.

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