How to Know the Gender of French Words

How to Know the Gender of French Words

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In this grammar lesson you will learn how to know the gender of French words.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • what you can expect from this lesson
  • typical masculine endings
  • typical feminine endings
  • how masculine and feminine nouns are used in sentences
  • how you can immediately test your knowledge on how to know the gender of French words
  • the way that Anki Files can be downloaded for how to know the gender of French words.

Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar, if you are curious about how to know the gender of French words, fits in A1 grammar.

By the end of the lesson you will know all about how to know the gender of French words!

Table of Contents

What to Expect from This Lesson

This lesson contains the most important endings relevant for a beginner.

There are more endings that reveal gender, but they apply to a very small group of French nouns, thus they are not included.

The aim is to introduce you to the most important endings, in a easy-to-understand manner.

It is also for this reason that the exceptions are not mentioned.

If you have to learn all the endings, plus all of the exceptions, then you will be completely overwhelmed.

You will meet those exceptions, as you progress on your French journey.

So don’t worry about them, and just focus on the overall general rules!

Typical Masculine Endings

EndingExample
-eaule château
-ismele cyclisme
-mentle médicament

Je voudrais vivre dans un château.

I would like to live in a castle.

J’adore le cyclisme.

I love cycling.

Vous devez prendre le médicament !

You must take the medicine!

Typical Feminine Endings

EndingExample
-adela promenade
-odela mode
-udel’altitude
-ancel’ambulance
-encel’essence
-ettela cigarette
-sionla collision
-tionla circulation
-urela culture

Generally speaking if a word end with an -e or -sion/-tion, then you can assume it’s feminine.

Please note that –é and are different letters and DON’T count as an –e.

La promenade des anglais est un endroit très connu à Nice.

The promenade des anglais is a very famous spot in Nice.

La mode à Paris est magnifique.

The fashion in Paris is beautiful.

L’altitude me fait peur, parce que j’ai peur des hauteurs.

The altitude scares me, because I am scared of heights.

Appelez une ambulance !

Call an ambulance!

C’est l’essence du problème.

This is the core of the problem.

Il sous-estime la probabilité d’une collision.

He underestimates the probability of a collision.

Le bruit de la circulation tue.

Traffic noise kills.

La culture dans ce pays est complètement différente.

The culture in this country is completly different.

Gender of Continents, Countries, and Regions/States/Provinces

We said in the previous chapter that it’s safe to assume that something is feminine if it ends with an –e.

This rule will apply here as well.

Most places ending in –e are feminine.

All continents are feminine in French

  • l’Afrique
  • l’Amérique
  • l’Antarctique
  • l’Asie
  • l’Europe
  • l’Océanie

Allmost all places (countries/states etc) that end with an -e are feminine

  • l’Allemagne
  • l’Angleterre
  • l’Argentine
  • l’Australie
  • la Californie
  • la Chine
  • la France
  • la Floride
  • l’Inde

Places (countries/states etc) ending in other letters are masculine.

  • le Brésil
  • le Canada
  • le Chili
  • l’État de New York
  • l’Illinois
  • le Japon
  • le Maroc
  • le Texas

A few countries are plural in French

  • les États-Unis (the United States)
  • les Pays-Bas (the Netherlands)
  • les Philippines

Please note that in French you always have to use the definite article (le/la/l’/les) when mentioning a place, unless you are talking about going to or from a place.

You don’t have to use the definite article when you mention a city.

Sentences Overview of How to Know the Gender of French Words

The final section of this lesson on how to know the gender of French words is about seeing the different genders in action.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding on how to know the gender of French words through examples.

This section contains all of the previous sentences, neatly organised in one place.

Je voudrais vivre dans un château.

I would like to live in a castle.

J’adore le cyclisme.

I love cycling.

Vous devez prendre le médicament !

You must take the medicine!

La promenade des anglais est un endroit très connu à Nice.

The promenade des anglais is a very famous spot in Nice.

La mode à Paris est magnifique.

The fashion in Paris is beautiful.

L’altitude me fait peur, parce que j’ai peur des hauteurs.

The altitude scares me, because I am scared of heights.

Appelez une ambulance !

Call an ambulance!

C’est l’essence du problème.

This is the core of the problem.

Il sous-estime la probabilité d’une collision.

He underestimates the probability of a collision.

Le bruit de la circulation tue.

Traffic noise kills.

La culture dans ce pays est complètement différente.

The culture in this country is completly different.

Test Your Knowledge on How to Know the Gender of French Words

It’s not enough just to read the article on this subject.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

It is also for this reason that it is recommended to download the Anki Decks and do them.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the corrects answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want!

Fill in the Blank!Je voudrais vivre dans château. [I would like to live in a castle.]
Fill in the Blank!Vous devez prendre médicament ! [You must take the medicine!]
Fill in the Blank! promenade des anglais est un endroit très connu à Nice. [The promenade des anglais is a very famous spot in Nice.]
Fill in the Blank!Il sous-estime probabilité d’une collision. [He underestimates the probability of a collision.]
Fill in the Blank!Le bruit de circulation tue. [Traffic noise kills.]
Fill in the Blank! culture dans ce pays est complètement différente. [The culture in this country is completly different.]

Anki File for How to Know the Gender of French Words

It is important to do the Anki excercises for this lesson, so that you can remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A1 you can practice every French A1 lesson that is on Language Atlas.

At this moment the Anki File for this lesson doesn’t exist yet. However, in due time this will be available on Language Atlas.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or don’t know how to use Anki or merge Anki files please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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