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.
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.
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.
'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.
'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.
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.
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.