Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 7 years ago

Can you help me in French?

I'm having trouble in French because of masculine and feminine terms. I get that "le" is masculine and "la" is feminine and "un" and "une", but what if it doesn't tell you if it's a M or F? Like the sentence "they are eating the food" is " Ils mangent la nourriture" but how do you know it's la? Is there some other rule for these words? I feel really stupid for this like I'm missing something simple. Please Help

Thank you :) x

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    French tends to inherit noun gender from its predecessor language, Latin, so "tabula" in Latin, which is a first-declension feminine noun, becomes "la table" in French, also a feminine noun.

    When learning a new noun in French, it's important to learn its gender at the same time. Sometimes it's fairly straightforward, because "le garçon", meaning "the boy", and "la jeune fille", meaning "the girl", are clearly masculine and feminine respectively, but it's not so obvious when identifying the gender of objects, rather than people or animals, especially if the noun begins with a vowel, e.g. "l'eau", meaning "the water". In such cases, learn the gender along with the noun or, even better, along with an adjective clearly identifying the noun 's gender, e.g. "l'eau fraîche" (fresh water), so you have a ready-made phrase rather than an isolated word.

    There are a few clues to noun gender in word endings:

    Masculine nouns: -age (Exceptions: la cage, une image, la nage, la page, la plage, la rage); -b; -ble (Exceptions: une cible, une étable, une fable, une table); -c (Exception: la fac (apocope of la faculté); -cle (Exception: une boucle); -d; -de (Exceptions: la bride, la merde, la méthode, la pinède; -ade, -nde, -ude endings); -é (Exceptions: la clé, la psyché; sé, té, and tié endings); -eau (Exceptions: l'eau, la peau); -ège (Exception: la Norvège); -et; -eur (applies mainly to names of professions and mechanical/scientific things); -f (Exceptions: la soif, la clef, la nef); -i (Exceptions: la foi, la fourmi, la loi, la paroi); -ing; -isme; -k; -l; -m (Exception: la faim); -me (Exceptions: une alarme, une âme, une arme, la cime, la coutume, la crème, l'écume, une énigme, une estime, une ferme, une firme, une forme, une larme, une plume, une rame, une rime, -mme ending); -ment (Exception: une jument); -n (Exceptions: la façon, la fin, la leçon, la main, la maman, la rançon; -son and -ion endings); -o (Exceptions: la dactylo, la dynamo, la libido, la météo, la moto, la steno); -oir; -one; -ou; -p; -r (Exceptions: la chair, la cour, la cuiller, la mer, la tour); -s (Exceptions: la brebis, la fois, une oasis, la souris, la vis); -ste (Exceptions: la liste, la modiste, la piste; names for people like un(e) artiste, un(e) nudiste, etc.); -t (Exceptions: la dent, la dot, la forêt, la jument, la mort, la nuit, la part, la plupart); -tre (Exceptions: la fenêtre, une huître, la lettre, la montre, la rencontre, la vitre); -u (Exceptions: l'eau, la peau, la tribu, la vertu); -x (Exceptions: la croix, la noix, la paix, la toux, la voix).

    There are further French gender guides here:

    But coming back to what I said at the start, better to learn the gender with the noun, because there are exceptions to every rule about French gender using suffixes as clues. Just be grateful you're not grappling with gender in German, Latin or Russian, where there are THREE genders, masculine, feminine and neuter.

    Source(s): Studied and taught French.
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  • 7 years ago

    Masculin and feminin are really a process of memory. When you learn a new vocabulary word, learn it with the gender identification...example: a beard (sounds masculin doesn't it?), is une barbe...the beard is la barbe...

    French people learn these things by heart since as kids Learning the language they always had someone to correct them early on (mother, grandmother, friends, etc.) you have to try to do the same.

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  • 7 years ago

    By writing it is at english that those who are eating are not distinguished as gender if they are masculine or feminine

    They are eating ,,not distinguished by writing

    But in french

    elles for feminine and ils for masculine then here they are distinguished

    he = il mange

    she =elle ...ELLE mange ...

    once at english twice at french

    They are eating : ils mangent

    They are eating : elles mangent

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  • Zunden
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    There's no one rule, but there are some generalizations, such as that words that end in "-tion" are usually feminine. If you google around a little, I'm sure you can find some hints.

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