He's English/an English?


can we say , i am an indian or i am an austrialian , i am an english etc etc

simply to ask whether we can use a determinant before the country ,

but i heard some people speak in this way often ,

is ist correct orally speaking

please send me some replies with some proof because i was been challenged by my friend

thank you
  • cropje_jnr

    Senior Member
    English - Australia

    This being a language forum, it is imperative that all posters use correct grammar, particularly initial capitals and capitalisation of "I".

    To answer your actual question, this is an area where the English language is, in my opinion, quite strange and illogical. We indeed say "I am an Indian" or "I am an Australian", however it sounds unnatural to say "I am an English" - we would instead generally say "I am English" or "I am an Englishman/Englishwoman".

    The same goes for natives of France (Frenchman/Frenchwoman) or China (although note that it is often politically incorrect to use the term "Chinaman"), just to give a few more examples. That said we talk about Germans, Spaniards, Canadians, Bolivians, Thais, Kenyans, and just about any other country you care to name.
    Thank you Mr Cropje_jr ,

    But I am really sorry for not using capital letter for the countries.

    OK sir, but grammatically speaking how can we say?

    The determinant before the country name, should we add a/an?

    If you so can you please tell me some reference for it?

    Thank you

    < Capitals added by moderator. >
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Unfortunately no. We have no word for "English person". It would be a very useful word! But we can't say :cross:'I am an English' or :cross:'I am an Englishperson'. We only have the sex-specific terms Englishman and Englishwoman. (There is a rare word 'Englander', but we don't use it in England - it sounds like something a German would call us.)

    You can use the adjective, either on its own ('I am English') or with a noun ('I am an English person').


    Senior Member
    <<Moderator note: lixiaohejssz's thread has been merged with an earlier one.>>

    Hi, there!
    As you all know, we can say He is an Englishman. "An Englishman" refers to a person. The question is, can we say "He is English." or "He is an English." instead of "He is an Englishman."?
    Many thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    English (AmE)
    To my knowledge, no, in English, we cannot say he is an English (although this is possible in many "romance" languages).

    However, you can say, "he is an American." :D


    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    As Amaryllis Bunny noted, all adjectives that indicate nationality cannot be used as a noun:

    He is American :tick:
    He is an American:tick:

    He is Canadian:tick:
    he is a Canadian:tick:

    He is Italian:tick:
    He is an Italian:tick:

    He is English:tick:
    He is an English:cross:

    He is French:tick:
    He is a French:cross:

    He is Chinese:tick:
    He is a Chinese.:cross:


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    As you can see, only the words ending with -an can be used as adjectives (he's Bolivian) or nouns (he's a Bolivian). You can, however, use the to turn adjectives to nouns (the English, the French, the Chinese) - this is something that applies to non-nationality adjectives too (the poor, the under-privileged).