French Nouns ?Masculine or Feminine

Published: 13th October 2008
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All nouns have a gender associated with them, but unlike English, in the French language there is no neuter gender for inanimate objects. All French nouns are either masculine or feminine. It is not difficult to learn to spell and pronounce the words for the nouns, but since all the nouns must be preceded by the article or you do have to know the gender of the noun. is used with masculine nouns and is used with feminine nouns. Some nouns are easy to remember when it comes to the gender when they are associated with people. It is the gender of inanimate objects that causes the most difficulty for those learning French as a second language.

When you learn the words for the nouns in French, you also have to learn the article along with the noun. There is no one rule to help you determine whether a noun is masculine or feminine. However there are some patterns that can help you. Nouns that end in ette are feminine and always take la. For example, the word fille means girl, so you know this is a feminine noun. Garcon is boy, which is masculine. The word for person personne is always feminine, whether it refers to a male or female.

Some of the endings for feminine nouns are:

- Ble

- Cle

- De

- F

- I

- Me

- N

- O

- R

- s

- Tre

- u

- x

Most words that end in are masculine, but there are exceptions to this rule. The nouns la plage, la page, la nage, la ragem la cage and lmage are feminine even though they do have this ending. Even though nouns in French ending in are feminine, the majority of those ending in are masculine. Nouns that end in are usually feminine, except for un lycee and un muse.

When you write French, the adjectives used to describe the nouns must agree with both the gender and the person. Therefore a feminine noun takes the feminine form of the adjective. If the noun is plural as well, then you have to use the feminine plural form. In the plural form, the article also becomes plural as written

When a noun begins with a vowel or the letter the article changes from and to Examples of this are te (summer), otel (hotel), rtist (artist). Even though the gender is not specified in the article, you still have to know the gender in order to write the correct form of the adjective.

There are also nouns that change in spelling according to the gender. This makes it easy to learn because you do learn the article associated with the noun. An artist can be a man or a woman, so there are two forms of the noun rtist and rtist. A teacher can be le professeur or la professeure. It is the nouns for objects that will give you the most problems, but the easiest way to learn them is to learn whether they are masculine or feminine right from the beginning.

For more information on French nouns, French adjectives and French numbers visit .

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