Is ‘Man and Woman’ Considered Singular or Plural?

In the vast world of the English language, understanding the concept of singular and plural forms of nouns is essential. A key point of focus lies in understanding the singular and plural forms of the words “man” and “woman”.

Singular and Plural: A Basic Understanding

In simplest terms, “man” and “woman” are singular nouns, referring to one male and one female person respectively. Their plural forms are “men” and “women”, used when referring to more than one individual. For example,

  • “The man is reading” – Refers to one male person that is reading.
  • “The women are dancing” – Refers to multiple female persons who are dancing.

Making Sense of Compound Nouns

Compound noun phrases such as “man and woman” can create confusion. Notably, when used together in one sentence with the conjunction “and”, they form a plural subject needing a plural verb. For example,

  • “The man and his wife were here” – Here, “man and wife” is a compound subject that stands for two individuals, hence connected to the plural verb ‘were’.

The Story of Collective Nouns

This principle extends to collective nouns such as “men and women”, or “humans”. They represent multiple individuals, hence they are plural. For example,

  • “All men, women and children are accounted for” – Here, “men, women and children” are multiple individuals, hence the plural use.

On the other hand, phrases such as “Every man, woman and child” use singular verbs because ‘every’ suggests looking at individuals separately, not as a group.


The Cases of ‘Human’ and ‘Humans’

As for the term ‘human’, it can be singular or plural depending on the context. For example,

  • “He is a human” refers to one individual.
  • “Humans are social beings” refers to multiples of individuals.

It’s important to note that ‘human’ represents both male and female persons and promotes gender neutrality.


In conclusion, the correct usage of singular and plural forms in English can highly enhance clarity in communication. The words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are singular. They become ‘men’ and ‘women’ in plural form. When using combined forms like ‘man and woman’, ‘men and women’ or ‘every man, woman, and child’, it is crucial to use the corresponding singular or plural verb form to ensure grammatical accuracy. Lastly, ‘human’ is a unique word that can be both singular and plural, while also promoting gender inclusivity. Understanding these principles surely ensures effective and accurate communication.

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