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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Candice here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common French questions.
The question for this lesson is: How can you tell if a noun is masculine or feminine?
In French, every noun has a gender. That goes for plural nouns too, like apples and oranges.
Other Romance languages have masculine and feminine nouns, too. It’s a trait that comes from Latin, and the gender depends on the origin of the older Latin word.
English doesn’t have masculine or feminine nouns, so the easiest way to tell the gender of a noun is by looking at the last letter of the noun.
The general rule is that if a noun ends with an -e, it's feminine. For example, la lettre, meaning "the letter," la veste, meaning "the jacket," and la fraise, meaning "the strawberry."
Nouns that end with any other letter are generally masculine, like le croissant, "the croissant," le mec, which means "the guy," or le bijou meaning "the jewel."
The only thing is, there are lots of exceptions. For example, le fromage, meaning "cheese," is masculine even though it ends with an -e.
Another example is, voix, meaning "voice." This word is feminine even though it doesn't end with an -e, so it's la voix.
Because there are so many exceptions to the general pattern, it's best to learn nouns and their articles together. That's le or un for masculine nouns and la or une for feminine nouns. Le and la are like the article “the” in English. Un or une are similar to “a.”
Although -e for feminine nouns and any other letters for masculine nouns are the most common ways to determine the gender of a noun in French, a few other letter patterns sometimes apply.
Some masculine endings are: “-age,” like le fromage, or “cheese” “-ment,” like le document, or “document” “-eau” like un oiseau, or “bird,” and “-oir” like le miroir or “the mirror.” If you see these letter patterns when you’re studying French, it’s safe to assume those nouns are masculine.
Some feminine patterns are: “-tion” or “-sion” like la nation meaning, “the nation,” “-té” like la liberté, or “liberty” and “-euse” like la chanteuse, or “the singer.” Just like with the masculine letter patterns I just mentioned, you can assume that words ending with these letter patterns are feminine.
It's important to remember what gender a noun is because sometimes it influences other parts of the sentence in French.
For example, adjectives change their spelling according to the gender of the noun they modify.
It looks a bit like this:
"The blue notebook," which is masculine, is le cahier bleu. "The blue chair" which is feminine, is la chaise bleue, with an extra -e.
I hope that answers your question! If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comments below, and I'll try to answer them!
A bientôt! See you soon!


Please to leave a comment.
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FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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What French learning question do you have?

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:36 PM
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Bonjour Rey,

Merci pour votre commentaire !

C'est très gentil 🙂

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101

Sunday at 11:10 PM
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Du parles tres bien anglais.😄

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 05:16 AM
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Salut KarenR,

Thank you for your feedback. I will forward it to our team for consideration.

If you have any further feedback or questions, we are glad to assist.

Good luck with your language studies.

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101.com

Tuesday at 07:44 AM
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It would be nice if the words featured here (and really, in any lesson) could be listed as vocabulary words. Then we could import them into flashcards.

Some of the lessons have vocabulary words, some don't. It would be nice if it were more consistent.

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 08:58 PM
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Bonjour Bushra,

The meaning is the same, what changes is the tense, am or "suis" is present, while was or "étais" is imparfait (past tense). You would use "suis" to talk about yourself in the present, for example "Je suis comptable" = "I'm an accountant", this is something that is true now, and you would use "étais" to talk about yourself in the past, "J'étais comptable" = "I was an accountant", this used to be true but is no longer the case now.

Hope this helps!

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101

Bushra Firoz
Wednesday at 12:31 AM
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Bonjour! Je m'appelle Bushra

Je vous remercie for such a very important lesson.

I am just a beginner, I am not able to understand the concept of 'am' and 'was'; it seems very difficult to me.

Sil vous plait, aide-moi.


A bientôt.

Wednesday at 09:38 PM
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Bonjour Jane,

Merci pour votre commentaire.

Unfortunately, we don't have such a list, but it's a very good idea!

I'll speak about it with the team.

Bonne journée et à bientôt !

Marie Alice

Team FrenchPod101.com

Wednesday at 02:45 AM
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I noticed some people’s comments are in both French and English, so here is my English translation for the comment below:

Thank you, this lesson is very useful. Candice is a good teacher; she speaks clearly, and does not go too fast.

Now, as a follow-up, a comprehensive list of nouns that are exceptions to the general rules would be very helpful. Maybe there's already a list like this? If so, will you tell me where that list is, please?

Wednesday at 02:40 AM
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Merci, cette lecçon est trés utile. Candice est un bon professeur; elle parle clairement, et ne va pas trop vite.

Maintenant, comme un suivi, une liste complète des noms qui sont des exceptions aux règles générales serait très utile. Peut-être qu'il y a déjà une liste comme çi? Si oui, veuillier-vous me dire où est cette liste, s’il vous plait?

Saturday at 01:32 PM
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Tres bon: