'Women' or 'Woman': What's the Difference?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on February 21, 2023

'Women' or 'woman': these two words only differ by one letter. So which one should you use? That's what you'll learn in this article.

In short, 'women' is the plural form of 'woman.' A woman is a person of the female gender.

Is It 'Women' or 'Woman'?

Whether or not you should use 'women' or 'woman' will depend on the context. Are you talking about a single person or two or more individuals?

But let's start by looking at the meaning of the word' woman.'

'Woman' is a noun, and the Cambridge Dictionary defines it as:

  • "an adult female human being"
  • "an adult who lives and identifies as female though they may have been said to have a different sex at birth."

'Women' is the plural noun form of 'woman.'

Therefore, if you're referring to a single female individual, you'll use the word' woman.' You'll use the plural 'women' when referring to two or more females.'

How to Pronounce 'Women' or 'Woman'

Though the two words look very similar, that one-letter difference changes how the word is pronounced.

The word 'woman' sounds like this:

[ wum-uhn ]

Whereas the word 'women' sounds like this:

[ wim-in ]

Notice how the 'o' changes sound, too, simply because there's an 'e' in the second syllable instead of an 'a'.

The International Phonetics Alphabet spells them like this:

/ ˈwʊm ən /
/ ˈwɪm ɪn /

When to Use 'Women' or 'Woman'

Now we'll look at some examples of these two words in a sentence. We'll start with 'woman.'

Examples of 'Woman'

Have you met Miss Harold yet? She's the woman standing by the coffee machine.

I saw a woman flee from the scene.

The woman entered the room with urgency.

It always inspires me to see a woman lead with such courage.

I helped the woman get across the busy road.

Examples of 'Women'

It's a women-led organization.

The women all got together to discuss the next course of action.

Far too often, we see young women forced into a mold that doesn't work for them.

The two French woman sat and had coffee.

There are many differences between men and women but many similarities too.

Concluding Thoughts

I hope you now feel more confident in understanding the two words, how they differ, and when to use them. To summarize:

  • 'Woman' is a singular noun
  • A woman is a person of the female gender
  • 'Women' is the plural form of 'woman'

If you found this article helpful and want to continue improving your English grammar skills, visit our Confusing Words blog.

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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.

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