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How to know if a French word is masculine or feminine ?

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

Hey, do you struggle to know whether a noun is masculine or feminine?

In general, when a masculine noun (or adjective) end with a consonant, you just have to ad an e to turn in to the feminine form.

Example: copain, copine (friend), coquet, coquette

If the noun ends with -er, the feminine version of it will end by -ère

Example: charcutier, charcutière

But as always, there’s a lot of exceptions.

The best way to know if a noun is masculine or feminine is the ending, so I would recommend you to learn 5 common endings of feminine nouns and 5 common endings of masculine nouns.

· 5 common endings of feminine nouns

-ette (example : une trompette (a trumpet, une alumette (a match))

-ine (example : une copine (a friend), une colline (a hill))

-eur (examples : une fleur (a flower), la peur (fear)

-tion/sion (example : la détermination (determination), la passion (passion))

-ie ( examples : la biologie (biology), la géographie (geography)

· 5 common endings of masculine nouns :

-age (example : un abattage (a slaughter), un nuage (a cloud))

-sme (example : le terrorisme (terrorism), le racisme (racism))

-eau (example : un château (a castle), un manteau (a coat))

-ier (example : un fermier (a farmer), un pompier (a fireman))

-in (example : un copain (a friend), un dessin (a drawing))

Unfortunately, as I wrote above, there are always exceptions (example UN squelette (a skeleton). So the best tips that I could give you is to always learn the noun with the corresponding article, to practice consistently and to ask for corrections.

Don’t worry, even if you make a gender mistake, it won’t prevent people from understanding you !

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