'Mans' or 'Men': What is the Plural of 'Man'?

By Kristy Ramirez, updated on October 24, 2022

When it’s time to make a word plural, it seems like it should be a pretty straightforward process. However, the English language doesn’t always follow logic. How do you know when to add an s and when to change an entire word? For example, is the plural of man 'mans' or 'men'?

The quick answer is that you should use the word 'men' when talking about more than one man. It is the only grammatically correct option.

What Is the Plural of 'Man'?

The plural of 'man' is 'men.' If you are talking about more than one man, you can’t simply throw the letter s on the end of 'man' and call it a day, even if that is what you would do with the word boy. There are rules for changing singular to plural words, which are laid out more in-depth here

However, the word 'man' falls outside the standard rules, and creating the plural version requires a new word. The same is true for the word 'woman' when you need to use a plural form.

Possessive Versus Plural

Putting an apostrophe and adding a comma to make 'man' the word 'man’s' is also not the correct way to create the plural word. An apostrophe and s are added to words to show possession. They can also be used when a word is a contraction that stands for two words. 

Is 'Mans' a Real Word?

'Mans' is a real word that can be found in the dictionary, but it’s not the plural of 'man.' 'Mans' is generally used as a verb that describes the act of manning an area. Here is an example of a sentence using 'mans': 

He mans the station on his own.

How To Use 'Man’s'

'Man’s' is the possessive version of 'man' and can be used when you are showing that a certain 'man' has ownership of something. Here are some examples of 'man’s' used this way:

The man’s coat is hanging in the front closet.

My shoes are next to the man’s foot.

You can also use 'man’s' as a contraction combining the word 'man' and a helping verb such as is or has. Examples of that usage could look like the following:

The man’s not going anywhere soon.

The man’s back from the grocery store.

How To Use 'Men'

If you are talking about more than one man, you need to use the word 'men.' Changing the a in man to an e in men is the only correct way to show the plural version. Some examples of 'men' used in a sentence include:

Men make more money than women for performing the same jobs.

A large group of men prepared to fight.

Final Thoughts on 'Mans' and 'Men'

The plural of 'man' is 'men,' though 'man’s' and 'mans' are actually words that can be used in other ways.

Don’t let frustration get the best of you when trying to make singular words plural. Learning any language is difficult, even if you are simply learning the rules of a language you already know. The rules for the English language are not the same in every situation. For more help with confusing words, review the rules and understand that there will always be exceptions.

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:
Kristy Ramirez
Kristy Ramirez has a BA in English and taught English/Language Arts to middle school students for a decade. She has been a freelance writer for seven years and spends most of her free time reading.

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.