Mens or Men’s or Mens’? (Correct Plural Possessive)

Nouns like “man” can have difficult plural forms to figure out at first glance. While some plural forms add a simple “s” to the end of the noun, “man” becomes “men.” This article will explain how the plural form “men” interacts with the possessive form.

Mens or Men’s or Mens’?

You should use “men’s” as the plural possessive form of “man.” For example, you would say, “it is International Men’s Day,” or “this is the men’s room.” “Mens” and “mens'” are both misinterpretations of the plural form. Neither of them is grammatically correct in any case.

Mens apostrophe

Check out this table to see how “man” and “men” used possessive forms:

Singular Man
Plural Men
Singular possessive Man’s
Plural possessive Men’s

The rules are fairly simple when you’re learning them for the first time. You simply take the base noun form (whether it’s singular or plural) and add an apostrophe and an “s” to the end.

So, the singular form is “man.” The singular possessive form must become “man’s:”

  • A dog is man’s best friend.

The same goes for the plural form. Since “men” is the plural form, you must use “men’s” as the plural possessive form:

  • The men’s clothing section is somewhere over there.

Mens

If you’ve asked yourself if “mens” is a word, this section is for you. Unfortunately, there are no situations where “mens” appears in English.

  • Correct: This is the men’s bathroom. I think you need to go to the one across the hall.
  • Incorrect: Many of the mens fashion icons have given up on their dreams.

“Mens” is never grammatically correct. Adding an “s” to the end of a noun like this usually implies you’re turning it into the plural form. However, “men” is already the plural form.

If “men” refers to multiple instances of “man,” then “mens” would refer to multiple instances of multiple instances of “man.” Do you see how confusing it would be to start using something like that in English?

Men’s

“Men’s” is the only correct form you need to worry about. It is the plural possessive form, where “men” is the plural form, and the “‘s” ending shows ownership in the sentence.

You can use the plural possessive form when multiple “men” own the same object or group of objects. It’s very common for an owned object to come directly after “men’s” when used in this form:

  • The men’s clothing line is so interesting to me! Would you like to look at it?
  • This is the men’s decision. I’m afraid there’s no much else I can do to help you change their minds.

If multiple “men” are referred to, then the plural possessive form is correct.

Mens’

The only way to create the plural possessive form of “man” is by taking the plural form and adding an “‘s” to the end. Therefore, “Mens'” is never correct.

You cannot use “mens'” because it is a misinterpretation of the plural possessive form. It would be correct if “mens” was an appropriate plural form. However, this is not the case, so you cannot use “mens'” either.

While “Mens'” does seem to follow regular noun rules with plural possessive forms, “man” and “men” are not regular nouns. That’s why the rules do not apply here.

Conclusion

“Men’s” is the only correct plural possessive form of “man.” You cannot use “mens” or “mens'” in any situation.

“Man’s” would be correct as the singular possessive form. Only “man’s” and “men’s” are relevant when discussing the possessive form here.