1.Some nouns, like l'élève (“the student”), have the same spelling and meaning in both forms.
2.Other nouns have the same spelling, but have different meanings.Un tour is a tour, while une tour is a tower.
3.There are also nouns that only have one possible gender. Even a baby girl is bébé, for instance.
4.Many masculine nouns can be changed to a feminine form simply by adding an -e to the end. Your male friend is un ami and your female friend is une amie.
5.Some genders depend on a noun’s classification. For instance, languages, days of the week, months, seasons, metals, colors, and measurements are mostly masculine.
FOUR STEPS TO GUESS GENDERS:
First, the basic pattern is that nouns ending in -e are feminine. All others, especially nouns ending in consonants, are masculine. This is true for over 70% of all nouns.
Second, there are two consonant endings that are generally feminine: -ion and-son.
Third, there are nouns endings in -e that are usually masculine. These are:
- -tre, -ble, -cle (think “treble clef”)
- -one, -ème, -ège (think “OMG”)
- -age, -isme
Fourth, there are a few endings that either have a lot of exceptions or are otherwise more complicated.
- -é is masculine, but not -té
- -de is masculine, but not -ade, -nde, -ude
- -ste and -me tend to be masculine, but there are dozens of exceptions. Words for people ending in -ste are often gender-neutral, e.g. le/la cycliste.
- -eur is masculine for most professions or technical terms, but it’s feminine for some emotions and abstract things.
- le résumé (masc) — the resumé
- la liberté (fem) — the liberty
- le guide — the guide
- la parade — the parade
- le chauffeur — the driver
- la peur — the fear
In French, female animal nouns are generally formed as follows by taking the last consonant, doubling it, and adding a mute -e to the end.
- un chat ⇒ une chatte
- un chien ⇒ une chienne
Of course, there are many exceptions. For example:
- un ours ⇒ une ourse (not une oursse) (bear)
- un cheval ⇒ une jument (not une chevalle) (horse)
Review the partitive article: