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Determining Masculine & Feminine Nouns

Are there any tricks or patterns to help determine whether a noun is masculine or feminine? I'm having trouble remembering which nouns are which gender and it just seems arbitrary to me now. Thanks for your help!

January 25, 2013



From my textbook:

The names of languages, trees, metals, days, months, and seasons are usually masculine. The names of continents, countries, provinces, and states ending in unaccented -e are usually feminine.

The easiest way to determine gender is from the word ending:

Masculin: -age, -ail, -al, -asme, -isme, -eau, -et, -ier, -ent, -ment

Féminin: -ance, -ence, -ture, -son, -ion, -tion, -esse, -ace, -ade, -ette, -oire, -ière, -ié, -ée, -té, -anse, -ense

Hope that helps!


The simplest way to think about it: most nouns that end with the letter "e" are feminine. Of course, there are many exceptions, as there are with most rules in French, but when I'm in doubt, I usually go with it.


There are patterns around certain types of words, either in the spelling, like in the link Sitesurf provided, or in the meaning (for example, the continents are all feminine). In general though, you should memorize articles as part of the nouns, so the information is there together.

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