In forms, what should I write for nationality fields? The name of country or the word for people of country?

German, English, Iranian vs Germany, England, Iran.

(I need this for listening section of IELTS)


Nationality is always a format based on the term used to refer to people hailing from the nation and not really the nation itself.

  • Jamaica - Jamaican
  • Britain - British
  • Yugoslavia - Yugoslavian

The point of nationality is to indicate the country but in a form that focuses on the people and not the concept of the country/nation.


The country itself is Germany, a noun. A person from that country is "a German", a noun. People or objects from that country, or characteristics of that country, are "German", an adjective.

"Germany is in central Europe." I am talking about the country.

"Heinrich is a German." A person from Germany.

"Mercedes-Benz is a German company." "German beer is exported to many other countries." Things from Germany.

So if you are from Germany, your nationality is "German".


Nationality is an adjective: He is French, she is English, they are German.

You can say: 'He is a French man, she is an English woman.' This is because you are saying 'He is a man, she is a woman' and adding their nationality. ('Man' and 'woman' are nouns, 'English' is an adjective.)

If you say 'He is a German' that could sound a little bit offensive, as if you are saying something negative about that man, because he is German.

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