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Masculine and Feminine Definite Articles

Is there a method in determining which definite article (masculine or feminine) to use before nouns or is it just memorization? Thanks

April 9, 2020



You basically just have to learn the nouns together with their definite article, e.g.:

--- la maison, la musique, la terre

--- le chapeau, le bateau, le café

The more you are exposed to and use the language, knowing which "grammatical gender" you need will become easy.


There are patterns but they are quite complex and have lots of exceptions. Best to just learn nouns with the indefinite article ie un homme (l'homme is not much use).


Feminine nouns may have extra letters like an e. For example "bon" is masculine and "bonne" is feminine. That's one way, but there are many more.


homme is masc seeing as it clearly refers to a man. It is quite tricky but with practice you'll get it.


Judit94350 actually knows that homme is masculine, and was poining out the fact that the -e ending rule is not a rule in french grammar and doesn't work to memorize or genders of french nouns. ☺


Judit - but yes. The ending in an e rule is often wrong.


Of course Judit, I'm so sorry ! ☺

[deactivated user]

    I think you meant to say adjectives. The feminine version of a French adjective will usually end in e. However, many adjectives end in e and use the same form for masculine and feminine - e.g. amiable, confortable.


    'Bon' and 'bonne' are not even nouns.


    Yes. Adjective agreement is a whole other thing


    Well, there are no clear rules for this, but there are lists that show frequent endings. https://grammarist.com/french/french-noun-gender/


    I think the only reliable way is to learn the gender for each noun. But I guess that people who already speak spanish, portuguese, or italian, wont struggle at all, because in most of the cases genders will match. If you use «le» instead of «la» and vice versa, people will still able to understand you, and guess what ? Few words are tricky even for french speakers who will misgender them !

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