‘Freshmen' or 'Freshman': What's the Difference?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on January 13, 2023

Should you use 'freshmen' or 'freshman'? This is an excellent question and one that's relatively straightforward to answer. Read on to find out more.

Basically, 'freshmen' is the plural version of the noun 'freshman.' Both words are used to refer to first-year students.

Difference Between 'Freshmen' or 'Freshman'

'Freshmen' and 'freshman' are both the same word, except that one of them is singular and the other is plural.

'Freshmen' and 'Freshman' Definition

So what does the word mean? It's a noun that refers to a student in their first year of high school, college, or university. Despite containing the root word 'man,' you can't change that to 'woman' or 'person.' The term 'freshman' is also used to refer to female and non-binary students.

'Freshman' is a singular noun and can also be used as an adjective.

'Freshmen' is a plural noun.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Freshmen'

According to the International Phonetic Alphabet, 'freshmen' is pronounced:


And it sounds like this:


Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Freshman'

The difference in pronunciation between 'freshmen' and 'freshman' is quite subtle and can be heard only in the second syllable due to the -a replacing the -e.

According to the International Phonetic Alphabet, 'freshman' is pronounced:


And it sounds like this:


When to Use 'Freshmen' or 'Freshman'

Now that we've established the two words' meanings and the difference between them, let's look at some examples of sentences that use them. I'll show you examples of the noun and examples of the adjective so you can see the difference.

Let's start with the noun (I'll use both singular and plural).

Hey! You look lost; are you a freshman?

My kids are both freshmen in high school.

I'm working on an article to help freshmen manage their finances better.

We used to be roommates as college freshmen.

There are more freshmen than seniors this year.

Now for some examples using 'freshman' as an adjective.

Today is freshman enrollment day at the local college.

Where is the freshman party taking place this year?

Freshman week is always a fun way to begin the academic year.

I remember feeling slightly dazed for my entire freshman year.

The freshman students are to report to the school office on Monday at 9 am.

Final Thoughts on Using 'Freshmen' or 'Freshman'

So you see, using 'freshmen' or 'freshman' is not that complicated. One is a singular noun or an adjective, while the other is a plural noun. If you're ever in doubt, remember that you can always come back to this article to check.

And don't forget to check out our other articles on commonly confused words. We've covered lots already and plan to keep on covering more.

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook. Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

Add new comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WritingTips.org Newsletter
Receive information on
new articles posted, important topics, and tips.
Join Now
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.