Which group is correct (in British English)? Is there any difference? And which group do you use?

Group 1 (the one I use)

  1. English man, English woman, English men, English women
  2. Irish man, Irish woman, Irish men, Irish women
  3. Scottish man, Scottish woman, Scottish men, Scottish women
  4. Welsh man, Welsh woman, Welsh men, Welsh women

Group 2 (from the dictionary)

  1. Englishman, Englishwoman, Englishmen, Englishwomen
  2. Irishman, Irishwoman, Irishmen, Irishwomen
  3. Scotsman, Scotswoman, Scotsmen, Scotswomen
  4. Welshman, Welshwoman, Welshmen, Welshwomen

I am not a native speaker and I would like to know if what I use is wrong or less correct.

  • Unsurprisingly the dictionary is correct.
    – user24964
    May 1, 2014 at 16:09

4 Answers 4


Both "English man" and "Englishman" can be correct, but they mean (slightly) different things, and the latter is vastly more common. If you're speaking of a man from England (as opposed to a man from a different place), then the word you want is Englishman. If you're using English as an adjective, i.e. you've already established who this man is and you're adding additional description, then you can write it as two words.

If you have even a shred of doubt about which is correct, write it as one word.

  • It's very hard to think of a context where the two-word version is actually to be preferred. The first English man of letters doesn't do it because "man of letters" is already a set phrase. But I'm sure a better example does exist. Nov 2, 2011 at 18:44
  • Just use it in a short sentence. "The English man was eating an ice cream." You can replace the word man in the preceding sentence with 'gentleman' for more clarification.
    – R-D
    Nov 2, 2011 at 23:21
  • So should I say: "There were only an Englishman and a Scotswoman." (one word) but "The Scottish woman was eating an ice cream." (two words)?
    – HQQ
    Nov 3, 2011 at 9:03
  • Why not "The Scotswoman was eating an ice cream"? Apr 28, 2015 at 15:31

First of all, since group two is from a dictionary, one can generally assume it is more or less correct. I use group two; I believe it is correct, and Google Ngrams support this:
Englishman Ngram
Irishman Ngram
Scotsman Ngram
Welshman Ngram

Wikipedia's article on English people does not use "English man" once, but uses "Englishman" multiple times.

Wikipedia's article on Irish people does not use "Irish man" once, but uses "Irishman" eight times.

Wikipedia's article on Scottish people does not use "Scottish man" once, but "Scotsman" redirects to the page.

Finally, the article on Welsh people does not use "Welsh man" or "Welshman". However, the Free Dictionary has an entry for Welshman, but not "Welsh man".

I think we can safely assume that it is, in fact, group two.

  • 2
    +1 (Ngrams is case-sensitive, so I've fixed the links to show "Englishman,English man" etc. This doesn't change your conclusion, and gives smoother curves and a proper result for Welshman.)
    – Hugo
    Nov 2, 2011 at 16:20

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm an Englishman. (I'm also a citizen of the United Kingdom.)

  • So you are also an English man. :-)
    – R-D
    Nov 2, 2011 at 23:21
  • @RoaldvanDoorn: Only in so far as you are a Dutch man. Nov 3, 2011 at 17:18
  • True all, but it strikes me, no one ever writes, "He was a Germanman" or "He was an Americanman". It's always either "He was a German man" or simply "He was a German". Similarly for the American. But we do write "Frenchman", "Dutchman" ... those are the only other examples I can think of though there are probably others that don't come to mind.
    – Jay
    Jan 12, 2012 at 21:48

Martha's answer is very useful. I can offer this musical confirmation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPQE3GfkrOo

  • Welcome to EL&U. You seem to be unfamiliar with the Stack Exchange model; this is a Q&A site, not a discussion forum, and you should only use the Answer box to provide an answer to the original question. For additional guidance, please take the site tour and visit the help center.
    – choster
    May 1, 2014 at 16:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.