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TNs, U31: Occupations(Professions as Adjectives, Genders)

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Remember that occupations can act as adjectives when used with être or devenir, so unlike in English, the French often drop the indefinite article (un, une, des) before an occupation.

  • Je suis juge. — I am a judge.
  • Elle va devenir avocate. — She is going to become a lawyer.
  • Ses parents sont boulangers. — His/Her parents are bakers.

However, if any specification follows the occupation, then the indefinite article must be added.

  • Tu es un juge respecté par tous. — You are a judge respected by all.
  • Il veut devenir un professeur pour adultes. — He wants to become a teacher for adults.

Omitting the indefinite article is optional. However, if it's included in the third-person, then you must use c'est or ce sont.

  • C'est un juge. — He's a judge.
  • C’est une dentiste bien connue. — She is a well-known dentist.
  • Ce sont des journalistes. — They are journalists.

Genders in Occupations

Some occupations have the same form in both masculine and feminine.

  • un médecin — a doctor
  • un/une juge — a judge
  • un/une journaliste — a journalist
  • un/une pédiatre — a pediatrician
  • un/une dentiste — a dentist
  • un/une secrétaire — a secretary
  • un/une ingénieur — an engineer
  • un professeur — a teacher

Some professions do not reflect the gender of the person at all and are invariable; un médecin, un professeur, and un maire, for instance, are all masculine regardless of the person doing the work.

Other occupations have a feminine form that's derived from the masculine:

Masculine Feminine English
un policier une policière a police officer
un agriculteur une agricultrice a farmer
un avocat une avocate a lawyer
un enseignant une enseignante a teacher
un serveur une serveuse a server
un cuisinier une cuisinière a cook
un coiffeur une coiffeuse a hairdresser
un boulanger une boulangère a baker

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