As a freshman in high school, or college, you’re probably wondering which spelling is correct – freshmen or freshman. Both are technically correct spellings, but they cannot be used interchangeably in all situations. In this post, we’ll teach you the difference between freshman or freshmen by ensuring your understand plural and singular nouns.
Which Is Correct: Freshmen or Freshman?
Just like the words unto vs onto, freshmen vs freshman fall into the category of words which are commonly confused. So many writers confuse these words & even try to use them interchangeably.
- Freshman: Freshman is a singular noun, so when referring to one student who is new to school, you would use the word freshman. You would NOT say “freshman class” because “class” is referring to a group of people.
- Freshmen: If you are referring to more than one student, you would use the plural form freshmen.
Here are some example sentences to make things clear:
- Mark’s freshman year was a huge success! He finished with a 4.0 GPA.
- As a student council member, I have to make a speech to the new freshmen class at student orientation.
- Rutgers College implemented a new university program to benefit the freshmen class of 2026. This new program will make first-year students’ life much easier.
Just like we saw in our comparison of flies or flys, even small spelling changes matter. Changing just one letter can totally change the meaning of a word!
Takeaway: Consider the subject of the sentence. If you are referring to a group of people, use the word freshmen. If you are referring to a
When & How To Use Freshmen
The word “freshmen” is used to refer to first-year students at any level. This term is usually reserved for groups of high school or college students. In fact, the plural form of “freshman” is actually “freshmen.” Plural freshmen, refers to a group or class or people. This is very similar to the spelling rules with gooses or geese!
The 2023 freshman class is going to be the best one yet.
I made so many lifelong friends from my freshmen class that I still talk to today.
Memory Trick: “Men” in a plural noun & “man” is a singular noun.
When & How To Use Freshman
A freshman is a singular noun meaning “a first-year student in college or high school.” You use “freshman” when referring to an individual person. Understanding the difference between singular nouns and plural nouns is a key writing convention that everyone should understand.
Steve’s freshman year did not go as planned, he got expelled.
I do not have fond memories of my freshman year, I was bullied every day.
If you have ever been a freshman yourself, then you know there are several alternate ways to call someone a first-year student. Check out these nicknames:
- Frosh Class
Which Is More Popular?
Most people tend to write and speak the word “freshman”. In most cases, they are using this term incorrectly to refer to a group of people. I have noticed this trend through reviewing and grading everything from persuasive essays to scientific research papers.
Is Freshman Capitalized?
You do not capitalize “freshman” when referring to a singular or individual person. Only capitalize “freshmen” when referring to a group or class of people.
- For example, “The Stanford Freshmen class of 2022 was very successful.”
Many writers don’t take the time to understand English capitalization rules, but they should. Using capitalization incorrectly can distract your audience and lower your credibility as an author.
How To Spot Singular & Plural Nouns
Being able to effectively identify parts of speech in your writing is important. Most singular nouns will have an s at the end, while plural nouns will not. However, there are some exceptions to this rule – words like “sheep” and “fish” are plural even though they don’t end in s.
Another way to tell the difference is to look at the article that goes with the noun. If it’s “a,” then it’s singular, and if it’s “some” or “several,” then it’s plural.
As you can see, there is not a single trick that works to identify singular vs plural nons. Hopefully, these tricks can help you spot the difference!
Frequently Asked Questions
The word “freshman” is a compound of the words “fresh” and “man”. It is normally used to refer to a first year class for high school or college.
A college freshman is an individual that is in the 9th grade. It is their first year at a college.
The sophomore class is a group of students who is in their 2nd year at the university. The sophomore class was the freshmen class the previous year.
The Bottom Line
Although the words freshman and freshmen are spelled almost the same, they have different meanings. It’s important to use the right word in order to avoid confusion & avoid making a silly typo.
So which should you use? If you’re referring to someone who is attending college for the first time, it’s a freshman. If you’re talking about a group of people (more than one), then it would be freshmen class or freshmen students. If you struggle with this grammar rule, consider trying QuillBot software or Grammarly software to make things super easy.