Dogs. Cats. People. Students. Eyes. What do these words have in common? They’re in the plural form. That’s right, 2+ of everything. But what about these?
개. 고양이. 사람. 학생.
You could read that as “Dog, Cat, Person, Student” – or you could interpret it as “Dogs, Cats, People, Students” depending on the context that I put it in.
In Korean, the official plural form comes as the addition of “-들” to a word, but it’s not used that frequently in everyday conversation. Can you still use it to clarify what you mean? Yes. Can you use it even if you don’t need to clarify because the context makes it already obvious? Yes. It’s not wrong to use “-들,” it’s just not as common as throwing in 사람 and meaning people, or 개 and meaning dogs. (Counter words and numbers help clarify the plural as well.)
I found this article, written by a professional translator, very interesting and informative on the matter of the plural form.
Don’t be scared away from ever saying “사람들” but remember that the next time you keep talking about multiples of the same thing, you don’t need to worry about adding “들” to every word. But when in doubt if it’s necessary, go ahead and use it.