-eur -> -euse/-rice?

Le chanteur -> La chanteuse

L'acteur -> L'actrice

Is this just something to memorize, or is there a rule/reason behind whether a masculine word ending with -eur becomes -euse over -rice?

May 31, 2018


unfortunately, it is just to memorise. I don't think there is any rule...

May 31, 2018

There is indeed a rules, but most French speakers are not aware of it!

-euse is for adjectives and for nouns directly derivated from an action verb with a t in it: chanter -> chanteur / chanteuse mentir -> menteur / menteuse manger -> mangeur / mangeuse

and in general for nouns of popular origin that evolved "naturally" in everyday language

-trice is for when the verb whose radical form does not include a t and the derivation occured in the Latin form before it entered into French:

agir -> acteur / actrice faire-> facteur / factrice diriger-> directeur / directrice éduquer -> éducateur /éducatrice

Finally there are a few rare forms in -eure : auteur / auteure (autrice was a short-lived attempt in early 20th century) successeur / sucesseure (but many French people would be unsure and rather try a periphrase)

June 7, 2018
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