3

When asked a question like, "What is your gender," or, "Are you male," which is correct:

  • I am male
  • I am a male

Or are both acceptable? Or does it depend on the question?

  • 1
    Why are you wondering? Are you unsure of the grammar of the sentence, or of the part of speech of the word "male"? As you probably know, dictionaries define "male" as both an adjective and a noun. So I don't understand why you would think either one is unacceptable. – sumelic Aug 22 '16 at 22:30
  • @sumelic, I was reading a thing online where users were asked to answer a few questions (one of which was their gender) and some people responded "I am a male" and others "I am male" and it just struck me as odd and made me wonder if one was correct and the other not. – Scott Mitchell Aug 22 '16 at 23:38
  • If you are male, your gender and sexual characteristics are male. If you are a male your behavior and appearance is male. – Hot Licks Aug 23 '16 at 1:17
3

Both are correct, but "male" is a different word type depending on how you use it.

In "I am male," male is an adjective.

In "I am a male," male is a noun.

Regardless, it doesn't really matter which one you used to answer that particular question you presented. Both would make sense.

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  • Thank you for your answer. What is an example of a question where it would whether male was used as a noun or an adjective? – Scott Mitchell Aug 22 '16 at 23:36
  • I can't think of one right off hand. It's just one of those words that can fit into two grammatical categories. If someone asked you, "Are you a male?", I feel like it would technically make more sense to say "I am a male," just because it follows the pattern. But either way would still be correct. – EJF Aug 22 '16 at 23:45
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They both are depending on context.

I am male simply states your gender assumptive of your species.

I am a male begs the question of which species. I am a male flounder?

You could always add a third version to this: "I am the male."

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  • You the man, Dave! – HemiPoweredDrone Aug 23 '16 at 2:13
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Up until a few years ago, the first question would have been considered incorrect. Sex, not gender applies to every situation except grammatical (that is, the gender of words—which is not much of an issue in English). I still recoil at seeing the prissy gender used as a substitute for sex.

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  • I downvoted because this doesn't answer the question (which is about "male" vs. "a male," not about "gender" vs. "sex"). Your dating is also off. The OED has many citations for the word "gender" being used in this meaning from before a few years ago; the earliest is from 1474: "in C. L. Kingsford Stonor Lett. & Papers (1919) I. 142 (MED), His heyres of the masculine gender of his body lawfully begoten." The idea that this usage is recent is an illusion. – sumelic Aug 23 '16 at 1:36
  • According to this answer to "What is the difference between gender and sex" (a more relevant question), it's true that this usage did not become common until later on, but "later on" means "the mid 20th century" according to the NOAD, not "a few years ago." – sumelic Aug 23 '16 at 1:41

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