Freshman or Freshmen: What’s the Difference?

If you have just entered into high school or college, are you are freshman or a freshmen? Are you a part of the freshman class or the freshmen class?

In today’s post, I want to talk about the differences between freshman and freshmen.

What is the Difference Between Freshman and Freshmen?

The difference between these two words, freshman vs. freshmen, is pretty straightforward.

One word freshman is singular; the other word freshmen is plural, but there are a few other considerations that trip people up, namely, what is the correct choice when the word functions as an adjective.

Should you use freshman or freshmen? Let’s find out.

When to Use Freshman

what does redshirt freshman meanWhat does freshman mean? Freshman is the singular noun and is defined as a student in the first year of high school, college, or university.

  • My roommate this year is a freshman.
  • When I was a Harvard freshman, he generously held forth at an evening weekly seminar where I was one of a dozen or so fortunate enough to be invited to join his class. –The Wall Street Journal

When to Use Freshmen

What does freshmen mean? Freshmen is the plural form of freshman.

  • Jack and Jill are freshmen at Yale.
  • There were hundreds of new freshmen at the student orientation this weekend.

Freshman Class or Freshmen Class?

college freshmen versus freshmanNow that we have the singular freshman vs. the plural freshmen out of the way, which word should you use to function as an adjective? Freshmen or freshman?

  • The freshman class has 1,600 students. (Correct)
  • The freshmen class has 1,600 students. (Wrong)

The adjective freshman is always singular.

  • We had over 5,000 freshman applicants this year alone.

-not-

  • We had over 5,000 freshmen application this year alone.

Here are a few outside examples from popular American newspapers.

  • The couple, both 32, met at Harvard, from which they both graduated. After dating during freshman year, they reconnected in 2013. –The New York Times
  • Michigan State got in the College Football Playoff after freshman running back L.J. Scott twisted, turned, lunged and reached for a game-winning touchdown. –The Washington Post

Trick to Remember the Difference

Here are a few quick and easy tricks to remember freshmen vs. freshman.

The singular vs. plural difference is just the same as it is for man and men.

  • Man is singular.
  • Men is plural.
  • Freshman is singular.
  • Freshmen is plural.

This makes that easy to remember.

The adjective use of freshman is also easy to remember. Just think of the “a” in freshman as standing for adjective. This will prevent you from ever using freshmen as an adjective.

Summary

Is it freshmen of freshman? One is singular and one is plural.

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

Freshmen is a plural noun. It cannot be used as an adjective.

If you are ever stumped on the difference between any other confusing English words, check out our main confusing words page. We have hundreds of the most confusing English words detailed in full with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

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