Toolbox | Trousse


Gender | Le genre



In French, all nouns have a masculine or feminine gender.


Note: Throughout this site, an ‘m.’ is used to designate the masculine gender of words and an ‘f.’ is used to designate the feminine gender of words.


le masculin (m.) ou le féminin (f.) | masculine or feminine


Please click on the text in the examples below to hear an audio sample.


For example | Par exemple:


These nouns are masculine (m.):
un chat (m.) | a cat/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_chat.mp3
le frère (m.)| the brother/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_frere.mp3
un pupitre (m.)| a desk/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_pupitre.mp3
le bonheur (m.) | happiness/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_bonheur.mp3
These nouns are feminine (f.):
une pomme (f.) | an apple/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/une_pomme.mp3
la grand-mère (f.) | the grand-mother /toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/la_grand-mere.mp3
une école (f.) | a school /toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/une_ecole.mp3
la tristesse (f.) | sadness /toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/la_tristesse.mp3


Gender Assignment | L’assignation du genre


For nouns referring to human beings and some animals, the assignment of gender is generated by the entity’s natural gender or sex (male or female).


For example | Par exemple:


These nouns are masculine (m.) by natural gender or sex:
le père (m.)| the father/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_pere.mp3
un monsieur (m.) | a man/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_monsieur.mp3
le cousin (m.)| the (male) cousin/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_cousin.mp3
le boulanger (m.) | the (male) baker/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_boulanger.mp3
un chien (m.) | a (male) dog/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_chien.mp3
le coq (m.) | the rooster/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_coq.mp3
un taureau (m.) | a bull/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_taureau.mp3
These nouns are feminine (f.) by natural gender or sex:
une mère (f.)| a mother/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/une_mere.mp3
la dame (f.) | the lady/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/la_dame.mp3
une cousine (f.)| a (female) cousin/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/une_cousine.mp3
la boulangère (f.) | the (female) baker/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/la_boulangere.mp3
la chienne (f.)| the (female) dog/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/la_chienne.mp3
une poule (f.)| a chicken/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/une_poule.mp3
la vache (f.)| the cow/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/la_vache.mp3

For nouns referring to non-living things, plants and most animals, the assignment of gender is random. There is seldom an established link between the gender and the meaning of words. The gender in this grouping is said to be grammatical (masculine or feminine). Grammatical gender is attributed regardless of biological gender or sex.


For example | Par exemple:


These nouns have a masculine (m.) grammatical gender:
le crayon (m.) | the pencil/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_crayon.mp3
un arbre (m.) | a tree/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_arbre.mp3
le bras (m.) | the arm/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_bras.mp3
un mot (m.) | a word/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_mot.mp3
le soleil (m.) | the sun/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_soleil.mp3
un papillon (m.) | a butterfly/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_papillon.mp3
These nouns have a feminine (f.) grammatical gender:
une craie (f.) | a chalk/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/une_craie.mp3
l’herbe (f.) | the grass/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/lherbe.mp3
une jambe (f.) | a leg/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/une_jambe.mp3
la phrase (f.) | the sentence/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/la_phrase.mp3
la lune (f.) | the moon/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/la_lune.mp3
une mouche (f.) | a fly/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/une_mouche.mp3


Gender Agreement | L’accord du genre

Gender has a fundamental role to play in French grammar, as many parts of speech have different forms based on gender. Adjectives, determiners/articles, nouns, pronouns, and verbs must agree in gender (masculine or feminine).


For example | Par exemple:

adjectives:

Pierre-Oh est aussi grand que Pierrette. |

Pierre-Oh is as tall as Pierrette.

Pierrette est aussi grande que Pierre-Oh. |

Pierrette is as tall as Pierre-Oh.

pronouns:

Il (Pierre-Oh[m.]) aime la natation. |

He (Pierre-Oh) likes swimming.

Elle (Pierrette [f.]) aime le hockey. |

She (Pierrette) likes hockey.

verbs:

Pierre-Oh est allé (m.) au cinéma avec ses amis. |

Pierre-Oh went to the movies with his friends.

Pierrette est allée (f.) au cinéma avec ses cousines. |

Pierrette went to the movies with her cousins.


Learning Word Gender | L’apprentissage du genre des mots

The most effective way to learn the gender of a noun is to learn the gender as part of the word. When learning new vocabulary or terms, it is helpful to specifically memorize the correct articles or determiners that precede the words. Articles and determiners agree in gender with the nouns/words that they modify and reveal their gender.


For example | Par exemple:


When nouns are preceded by the article le or un, or the determiners mon, son or ce they are masculine words.

Le livre et le cahier sont rangés dans le sac à dos.| The book and the notebook are in the backpack.

Il y a un crayon rouge et un stylo vert dans le coffre à crayons. | There is a red pencil and a green pen in the pencil case.

Ce garçon a mon téléphone cellulaire dans son sac à dos.| This/That boy has my cell phone in his backpack.


When nouns are preceded by the article la or une, or the determiners ma, sa or cette they are feminine words.

Nous avons trouvé la clé de la porte d'entrée. | We found the key to the front door.

J’ai une poire et une banane dans ma boîte à dîner. | I have a pear and a banana in my lunch box.

Cette fille a ma bague dans sa poche. | This/That girl has my ring in her pocket.



General Rules: From Masculine to Feminine |
Les règles générales : du masculin au féminin


In general to form the feminine of a word:


add an 'e' to the masculine form

le texte court la jupe courte
the short text
the short skirt
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_texte_court.mp3
un foulard bleu une écharpe bleue
a blue scarf
a blue scarf
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_foulard_bleu.mp3
 

un étudiant une étudiante
a male student
a female student
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_etudiant.mp3
un ami une amie
a male friend
a female friend
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_ami.mp3




words ending in 'x' change to 'se'

un temps heureux une expérience heureuse
a happy time
a happy experience
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_temps_heureux.mp3
un serpent peureux une chatte peureuse
a fearful snake
a fearful female cat
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_serpent_peureux.mp3
 

un époux une épouse
a husband
a wife
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_epoux.mp3


Exceptions:

un faux document une note fausse
a false document
a false note
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_faux_document.mp3
le chiffon doux la peau douce
the soft cloth the soft skin
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_chiffon_doux.mp3
 

le cheveu roux la poule rousse
the red hair
the red hen
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_cheveu_roux.mp3
le vieux bateaula vieille dame
the old boat the old lady
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_vieux_bateau.mp3




words ending in 's' add an 'se'

le niveau bas la basse fréquence
the lower level
the low frequency
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_niveau_bas.mp3
un mot en caractère gras une matière grasse
the word in bold face
a fatty substance
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_mot_en_caractere_gras.mp3
 

le morceau épais la couche épaisse
the thick piece
the thick layer
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_morceau_epais.mp3


Exceptions:

le ciment gris la maison grise
the grey cement
the grey house
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_cimont_gris.mp3
 

le pain frais la crème fraîche
the fresh bread
the fresh cream
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_pain_frais.mp3




words ending in 'il', 'el', and 'eil' change to 'ille', 'elle', and 'eille'


un peuple gentil une gentille famille
a kind people
a nice family
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_peuple_gentil.mp3
un massacre cruel une peine cruelle
a cruel slaughter
a cruel punishment
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_massacre_cruel.mp3
un prix réel une œuvreelle
an actual price
a real work of art
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_prix_reel.mp3

un enjeu pareil une chose pareille
such an issue
such a thing
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_enjeu_pareil.mp3
le colonel la colonelle
the male colonel the female colonel
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_colonel.mp3




words ending in 'et' change to 'ette' and 'ète'


le cinéma muet la carte muette
the silent film
the blank map
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_cinema_muet.mp3
un raisin violet une encre violette
a violet grape
a violet ink
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_raisin_violet.mp3

un message secret une enquête secrète
a secret message
an undercover investigation
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_message_secret.mp3
un problème concret une réalisation concrète
a specific problem
a concrete implementation
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_probleme_concret.mp3




words ending in 'en' change to 'enne'


un étudiant parisien une étudiante parisienne
a male Parisian student
a female Parisian student
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_etudiant_parisien.mp3
un transport aérien une compagnie aérienne
air transport
an airline company
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_transport_aerien.mp3
un physicien une physicienne
a male physician
a female physician
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_physicien.mp3

un chien une chienne
a male dog
a female dog
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_chien-2.mp3
un Canadien une Canadienne
a male Canadian
a female Canadian
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_canadien.mp3
un Européen une Européenne
a male European
a female European
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_europeen.mp3




words ending in 'on' change to 'onne'


le mignon villagela mignonne créature
the cute village
the cute creature
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_mignon_village.mp3
un champion une championne
a male champion
a female champion
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_champion.mp3

un lion une lionne
a lion
a lioness
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_lion.mp3




words ending in 'er' change to 'ère'


un ami cher  une amie chère
a dear male friend a dear female friend
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_ami_cher.mp3
un vélo cher une voiture chère
an expensive bicycle
an expensive car
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_velo_cher.mp3
le groupe fier l’équipe fière
the proud group
the proud team
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_groupe_fier.mp3

un cœur léger une légère augmentation
a light heart
a slight increase
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_coeur_leger.mp3
un écolier une écolière
a male student
a female student
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_ecolier.mp3
un ouvrier une ouvrière
a male worker
a female worker
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_ouvrier.mp3




words ending in 'f 'change to 've'


un jean neuf une ceinture neuve
a new pair of jeans
a new belt
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_jean_neuf.mp3
un bleu vif une couleur vive
a bright blue
a bright color
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_bleu_vif.mp3

un bref délaiune brève échéance
a short period of time
a short term
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_bref_delai.mp3
un esprit sportif une émission sportive
a spirit of sportsmanship
a sports program
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_esprit_sportif.mp3




words ending in 'c' change to 'che' or 'que'


le fromage blanc la farine blanche
the white cheese
the white flour
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_fromage_blanc.mp3
l’endroit sec la saison sèche
the dry area
the dry season
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/lendroit_sec.mp3
un témoignage franc une explication franche
a truthful testimony
an honest explanation
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_temoignage_franc.mp3

le secteur public la santé publique
the public sector
the public health
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_secteur_public.mp3
le peuple grec la langue grecque
the Greek people
the Greek language
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_peuple_grec.mp3
le citoyen turc la population turque
the Turkish citizen
the Turkish population
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_citoyen_turc.mp3




words ending in 'g' change to 'gue'


un long métrageune longue durée
a full-length movie
a long period
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_long_metrage.mp3





words ending in 'gu' add an 'ë'


un sens aigu une douleur aiguë
a keen sense
a sharp pain
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_sens_aigu.mp3

un mot ambigu une réponse ambiguë
an ambiguous word
an ambiguous answer
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_mot_ambigu.mp3




words ending in 'eur' change to 'euse'
(when that word can be made into a present participle by adding ant: rêveur (rêver) rêvant |rêveur rêveuse ).

un sourire rêveur une personne rêveuse
a dreamy smile
a day dreaming person
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_sourire_reveu.mp3
le lecteur songeur la lectrice songeuse
a pensive male reader
a pensive female reader
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/le_lecteur_songeur.mp3

un danseur une danseuse
a male dancer
a female dancer
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_danseur.mp3
un patineur une patineuse
a
male skater a female skater
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_patineur.mp3




words ending in 'eur' change to 'eure'
(when that word cannot be made into a present participle or when the word is an adjective of comparison)

un meilleur ami une meilleure amie
a male best friend
a female best friend
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_meilleur_ami.mp3
un rendement supérieur un technologie supérieure
a superior performance
a superior technology
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_rendement_superieur.mp3

un niveau inférieur une qualité inférieure
a lower level
an inferior quality
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_niveau_inferieur.mp3
un mineur une mineure
a male minor
a female minor
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_mineur.mp3




words ending in 'teur' change to 'teuse'
(when that word can be made into a present participle by adding ant: chanteur (chanter) chantant | chanteur chanteuse).

un chanteur une chanteuse
a male singer
a female singer
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_chanteur.mp3

un sauteur une sauteuse
a male jumper
a female jumper
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_sauteur.mp3




words ending in 'teur' change to 'trice'
(when that word cannot made into a present participle).

un modèle novateur une approche novatrice
an innovative model
an innovative approach
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_modele_novateur.mp3
l’oiseau migrateur l’espèce migratrice
a migratory bird
the migratory species
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/loiseau_migrateur.mp3

un directeur une directrice
a male director
a female director
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_directeur.mp3
un consommateur un consommatrice
a male consumer
a female consumer
/toolbox/gender_number/gender/audio/un_consommateur.mp3