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A noun is a word that represents a person, place, or thing, whether concrete (e.g., chair, dog) or abstract (idea, happiness). In French, all nouns have a gender - they are either masculine or feminine. The gender of some nouns makes sense (homme [man] is masculine, femme [woman] is feminine) but others don't: the words personne [person] and victime [victim] are always feminine, even when the person or victim is a man.
It is very important to learn a noun's gender along with the noun itself because articles, adjectives, some pronouns, and some verbs have to agree with nouns; that is, they change depending on the gender of the noun they modify.
There is no easy way to determine the gender of every noun, and you have to remember the gender with each word. But a number of patterns in suffixes and word endings are helpful: some tend to indicate masculine or feminine nouns (be careful with the exceptions).
Please have a look at this link:
There is virtually no correlation between gender and what it seems like it should be, for example (from Remy), victim and person are always feminine. Some languages, though, have many more (one language in Africa has nine, none of which are male/female) like animate/inanimate and physical/spiritual. They can get pretty weird, though, like fire being animate and sickness being inanimate.
It's amazing what language features various languages focus on. I keep trying to refind a dead language I once stumbled across on the internet where the focus of language was on emotion, and everything was viewed through a phrasings that relied on emotions as cues to meaning. I think it was from the Thailand area, maybe India.
From what i gather, the root word for "eat" is actually manger, isn't it? In what situation would we actually use the root word manger (or any other particular word?
By "root" you mean infinitive, right?
If yes, you will find the "manger" form mostly when used as a second verb, after "pouvoir, vouloir, savoir" or after any preposition.
Je peux/veux/sais manger proprement (I can/want to/know how to eat properly)
Le fromage est facile à couper (cheese is easy to cut)
J'ai besoin de manger (I need to eat)
Je prends une heure pour manger (I take an hour to eat)
Yes I did mean that. Thank you that was helpful. Will it be too general to assume that French infinitive words in general when translated to English usually means "to do something" as in "to eat" as opposed to just "eat"?
That is not the way it works. In English if an action is in progress, you use the continuous form of the verb which is "be+ VERB-ing". So "I am eating" means that you currently, your meal is in progress. In French, there is no comparable verbal form. If you want to translate "I am eating", you will use the form "être en train de + infinitive verb", ie: "je suis en train de manger".
In English, you use "I eat" when the action is a habit for example: "every morning, I eat cereals". In that case, the French use the simple present as well: "tous les matins, je mange des céréales".
OK, I like your question!
1st group: verbs ending with -er (exception: aller) 2nd group: verbs ending with -ir (a few exceptions, like 'mourir', 'sentir', etc) 3rd group: technically all others + auxiliaries: être (to be) and avoir (to have)
Now, if you want to check on the conjugation of any verb, go to: http://french.about.com/library/verb/bl-verbconjugator.htm
In French, there is no continuous tense (for example, we say: "Je mange", whether in a definite or indefinite period of time.).
You can use the idiomatic phrase "être en train de" to express the idea of continuity. (ex: "Je suis en train de manger." for "I am eating.")
If you hover over the English progressive tense (ex: "am eating"), you will get the hints for the French conjugated tense ("mange").
So, if the meaning of the sentence is "in general", then use the English present simple, for ex: "(In general) I eat rice."
If the meaning of the sentence is "in a definite moment", then use the English present continuous, for ex: "(Now) I am eating rice."
Une/Un both equal one, but one is feminine and the other is masculine. Une is "One" or "a/an" for a girl, like "A girl" or "an apple" or "one tomato" (Une fille, une pomme, une tomate). Un is masculine, for words with a boy gender, like A man, A book, A dog (male) (Un homme, un livre, un chien.) Foods have a gender, and I got really confused by that.