"The water is good."
Translation:L'eau est bonne.
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The work eau is from Middle French eau, eaue, which in turn is from Old French ewe, euwe, egua (“water”), and in turn from Latin aqua (“water”), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ekʷeh₂ (“water, flowing water”).
Every instance of those words is feminine, so the femininity of water has a long lineage.
There does exist another ancient word, wédōr ("water") whose gender is neutral, (wédōr comes to English via proto-Germanic), in Latin *wédōr appears as unda ("a wave") and in the romance languages it appears as
French: onde Spanish: onda Italian: onda
In Proto-language, *wódr̥ is a neuter noun but after it became Latin it gender-switched to feminine.
I also think it appears in Russian as vodka but don't quote me :D
It's actually not. Spanish doesn't collapse 'la' into words that start with vowels the way French and Italian do; instead, they change the article entirely.
"The feminine noun agua is like other feminine nouns starting with a stressed a sound in that it takes the definite article el (normally reserved for masculine nouns) in the singular when there is no intervening adjective--el agua. However, if an adjective intervenes between the article and the noun, the article reverts to la." Wiktionary
Gender -> This is a good start: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/genderpatterns.htm or if you like statistics: http://www.fourmilab.ch/francais/gender.html
Plural -> If you have a group of nouns with female and male gender you use the male plural. The female plural is only used when there are only females in this group and no males. In your example you would use the male plural: L'eau et le pain sont bons. (f+m=m.pl) male plural: Le café et le repas sont bons. (m+m=m.pl) female plural: La pomme et la banane sont bonnes. (f+f=f.pl)
I think it's honestly harder to learn vocabulary gender that way, speaking from my experience with spanish and portuguese - It's honestly easier to just memorize their gender as they come up in different lessons because there's really no rule for which are which. Just a suggestion! :)