How to Know the Gender of French Words [+11 Examples & Quiz]

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 quiz yourself on how to know the gender of French words
  • how to practice with flashcards on how to know the gender of French words
  • how and why you should use the courses of Language Atlas to learn French

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

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

Almost 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.

Example Sentences on 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.

Quiz Yourself on How to Know the Gender of French Words

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

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter.

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

Once you are done the correct 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.]

How to Practice With Flashcards for This Lesson

Using flashcards is an absolute necessity when it comes to learning a language!

It is the best way to memorize what you learn, you can personalize your progression because it adapts to your actions, and all flashcards have audio to improve your hearing and pronunciation.

Please read our article on how to learn a new language for more information on flashcards and the best way to learn a new language.

There are two ways to practice with Flashcards for this lesson.

  1. Anki
  2. The Flashcards in our Courses

Anki is a free software with which you can create and practice flashcards.

After you have downloaded Anki for free, you can get our French A1 Anki Deck.

This Anki Deck contains 3,764 flashcards with which you can practice absolutely everything for French A1.

All the flashcards have text, images, explanations, and audio.

You can also use our courses that have flashcards integrated alongside lessons with audio, quizzes and much more!

However, I am sure you are wondering, what are your courses, and why should I take them?

The Courses of Language Atlas

Have you ever wondered what the best way is to learn a new language?

I have been learning languages for over 20+ years and I was always frustrated with books, courses, and classes that I had tried.

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So I thought, “why not make something myself?“.

Using my experience and by doing research I created Language Atlas, a platform where people can learn French and Spanish in the most effective and efficient way.

I created free lessons and quizzes so that there would always be a easy and accessible way for people to learn or brush up on their language skills.

However, I also created courses that are much more comprehensive and in-depth.

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The courses of Language Atlas have:

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You can register for free and try the French A0/A1 and Spanish A0/A1 Courses for free!

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