English grammar common mistakes | male or men?
- There are now more opportunities for females within the police service. [incorrect]
- There are now more opportunities for women within the police service. [correct]
- The chart shows the number of hours worked by men and women employees. [incorrect]
- The chart shows the number of hours worked by male and female employees. [correct]
Male and female can be used as nouns, but they are only used in very formal or technical writing, or when talking about animals rather than people.
- The male tree frog sings to attract the female.
In most spoken and written contexts, we use the nouns man/men or woman/women:
- Nursing and teaching degrees still attract more women than men.
- The life expectancy for an average man in Switzerland is 77 years.
Male and female are used as adjectives in written and spoken English:
- We have a roughly equal number of male and female students.
- All the candidates on the shortlist were female.
In informal conversation, people sometimes use woman or lady before another noun instead of female:
- a woman/lady doctor
- a woman/lady golfer
- a woman driver
- She was the first woman president of Ireland