is there a difference between the "eats/eating" words since i noticed the two versions are similar besides this version using "tav" at the end. is it to do with gender? is the "tav" ending version for females and the other for males? or does it just vary with how you use the word in the sentence?
You got it - it does have to do with gender. Present tense in Hebrew has 4 conjugations: singular masculine, singular feminine, plural masculine and plural feminine. With אוכל it's conjugated like this:
sing. mas. = אוכל
sing. fem. = אוכלת
pl. mas. = אוכלים
pl. fem. = אוכלות
There's no difference between "eats" and "is eating".