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Advice for French

Hi, I am pretty new to French, and I sometimes still have trouble with telling things apart. like feminine and masculine. Please give me some advice.

April 12, 2020



Memorise the gender with the word. Instead of memorising "chat," memorise "le chat," and instead of learning "coccinelle (ladybug)," learn "la coccinelle." That's the most surefire way to learning the gender of a word.


It is even more effective and accurate to memorize the indefinite article.
un chat, une coccinelle.
With the definite article
le/la/l' you can't tell l'abricot is masculine and l'orange is feminine.


Good advice, merci beaucoup !


Hi. I'm a native french speaker. If you want people to understand you, focus on the sentence structure, the word order and the grammar (when to use the right preposition, which tense to use and why, which pronoun is correct, how to build a question, agreements...). If you mix up noun genders, people will understand you anyway, we are used to hearing that kind of mistakes from non natives. I'm not saying gender is not important, but if you can't make a proper sentence in the first place, people won't understand at all.

    Ce matin, j'ai pris une café Wrong gender for café but the sentence is correct. Sounds funny, but I got the message.
    Ce matin, j'avais un café Correct gender but wrong tense and word for word translation from the english. I'd have to translate it to english and then to proper french again to understand.

Don't be affraid of noun genders, it will become easier as you hear and read more french, and will eventually become natural for basic vocabulary. But the important things (to me, and I'm not a teacher) are maybe to accept not to translate word for word and to be very precise on prepositions (de, à, pour, en...) and sentence structure.


Hey, you mainly have two options.

The article

One way to differentiate masculine/feminine is to refer to the article that goes with the noun.

"Le" and "Un" are used for masculine nouns

"La" and "Une" are used for feminine nouns.

Noun’s ending

Feminine noun endings

The majority of words that end in -e or -ion. Except words ending in -age, -ege, -é, or -isme (these endings often indicate masculine words).

Masculine noun endings

Most words with other endings are masculine.

Hope this helps!


Unfortunately there's no quick fix. The advice is to recognize this will be a slow process and that's okay. Have you ever learned a language before, other than your first? If not, this may be going slower than you expect. It's slow. You will probably never stop making mistakes - they'll be different mistakes, but as long as you keep learning, you'll keep making them. I took 5 years of French in school and am renewing it with Duo. I still mess up the gender of words sometimes.

My best advice for m/f is to just...try to get an instinct for it. Do the Duo lessons. Eventually it will just "seem wrong" to you to see "le pomme" or something, and you'll have that one. Just like it should "seem wrong" to you to hear someone say "I goes to the store" or "I like your hat green" in English.

You can find hints and tricks, like certain word endings that make it more likely to be m or f. Eventually sure, sometimes that helps. I wouldn't worry about it now. Absorb it. Use the Duo method, which is mostly exposing you to words in context.


Read the tips and that will help. I’m a beginner too. We are in this together!!!

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