Gender in French


Gender is one of the most difficult aspects of French grammar for beginners. It is not so difficult when talking about people, since grammatical gender - masculine or feminine - usually (but not always) matches up with a person's gender - male or female. But every noun in French has a gender assigned to it - and you can't make guesses based on the "masculinity" or "femininity" of the item. Part of learning a new French noun means learning the gender of that noun. This is especially important because adjectives and pronouns agree in gender with the noun they modify or replace. Luckily, there are some patterns that can help you guess the gender of a noun that might be unfamiliar.
Feminine Nouns
*Nouns referring to women are feminine
La grand-mère [the grandmother]
*Nouns ending in -ure are typically feminine.
Examples:
La voiture [the car]
*Nouns ending in – are typically feminine.
Examples:
L'université [the university]
*Nouns ending in -ion are typically feminine.
Examples:
L'opinion [the opinion]
*Nouns ending in -ie are feminine.
Examples:
La magie [the magic]
*Nouns ending in -eur are feminine.
Example:
La fleur [the flower]
*Nouns ending in -ée are feminine.
Example:
La pensée [the thought]
*Nouns ending in –ence, -ance are feminine.
Example:
L'intelligence [the intelligence]
Masculine Nouns
Nouns ending in -ment are usually masculine.
Examples:
Le gouvernement [the government]
*Nouns ending in -isme are usually masculine.
Examples:
Le socialisme [the socialism]
*Nouns ending in -al are usually masculine.
Examples:
Le journal [the newspaper]
*Nouns ending in -ier are usually masculine.
Examples:
Le pommier [the apple tree]
*Nouns ending in -oir are usually masculine.
Examples:
Le couloir [the hallway]
*Nouns ending in -age are usually masculine.
Examples:
Le fromage [the cheese]
*Months, days of the week, and numbers are masculine.
Examples:
Le lundi [Monday]
Be careful, in each category there are exceptions.

Related Links:
French Language
Indefinite Articles in French
Negation in French: How to make negative sentences
Ordinal Numbers in French


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