I am wondering which one, China man or Chinese man, should I use for the below sentence.

Doing business in China requires deep understanding of its culture. But this China/Chinese man, although speaks the language, knows nothing about it.

My instinct is that "China man is better in here, but not sure.

What do you think?


2 Answers 2


'Chinaman' is usually written as one word, but is considered at best old-fashioned and at worst derogatory. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinaman_(term) . You should use 'Chinese man'.

  • Absolutely. The only exception, funnily enough, is Frenchman. :)
    – Lambie
    Mar 5, 2019 at 17:09
  • @Lambie -- Odd, I don't usually find Frenchmen all that funny.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 5, 2019 at 23:23
  • @HotLicks I didn't say they were funny.
    – Lambie
    Mar 5, 2019 at 23:51
  • @Lambie - even then it's "Frenchman" not "Franceman"
    – komodosp
    Sep 5, 2023 at 9:26

It clearly has to be Chinese and not China.

China and Man are both Nouns and using them consecutively distorts the meaning of the sentence. Chinese is an adjective describing the man and hence is more suitable to use.

But this Chinese man, although speaks the language, knows nothing about it.

The sentence conveys that the man is Chinese (belongs to China) and speaks the language, however does not know anything about it.

Though there is no denial that few speakers tend to do such usage (China Man, India Man), however that's purely out of habit or local dialect. Linguistically is still stays incorrect.

  • 2
    There is nothing “linguistically incorrect” (which is not a term that has any actual meaning) about using a noun to modify another noun, and it does not “distort the meaning of the sentence” (into what?). It’s traditionally called a noun adjunct, and there are thousands of perfectly normal examples of it. With country names specifically, it tends to be limited to names and headlines (except for some countries, most commonly abbreviations like US and UK, where it’s quite common in normal speech too), so you’re right that Chinese is preferable here, but your reasoning is incorrect. Mar 5, 2019 at 8:24
  • @KateBunting That really should be (half of) an answer.
    – Mitch
    Mar 5, 2019 at 13:45

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