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How can you tell...

Is there any way of knowing wether a word is masculine or feminine in French? This is one area I'm not so good at. Also when a word starts with a vowel (l'oiseau), how can you tell which one it is? Thanks

June 3, 2017



I didn't mean like that. I was wondering if there was a way of telling just by looking at the word without le or la in front of it. But thanks anyway


This is a good question. With Spanish it is easier to tell since most words (given with a few exceptions ) have an "a" or "o" at the end to help determine if it is feminine or masculine. From my understanding, which I can be completely wrong, masculine words tend to have these endings:

aire asme é eau et ien isme in nt oir

As feminine tend to have these endings:

ade aison ance ande ence ise son té tié ture ude

source: The Grammarist


With French it is impossible to tell gender from a rule all the time, however you can get a high percentage of success in guessing by learning a number of word endings and groups.

These sites (and many others) cover what you need to know:



As far as I recall, when a word starts with a vowel with l' before it, you cannot tell its gender, except by guessing with the guidelines above, or encountering it in other situations, such as with un or une before it, or by looking it up. On Duolingo, the hover hints sometimes let you know.


You can usually tell by the ending of the word:

Feminine: usually ends in -le, una, or -la

Masculine: usually ends in -ls or, -in, or un


Thank you all for your advice, I checked out the sites you recommended. They are really helpful

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