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Learn French Online – Lesson 3 – Gender of Nouns and Articles

In French, every noun has a gender. It’s either masculin (male) or féminin (female).

You can tell the gender of a noun by the article that comes before it.

The English a will be un (m) or une (f).

The English the will be le (m) or la (f).


une tasse (f)
a cup

un poisson (m)
a fish

la nuit (f)
the night

la journée (f)
the day / daytime

le soleil (m)
the sun

la lune (f)
the moon

la voiture (f)
the car

le camion (m)
the truck

une banane (f)
a banana

un citron (m)
a lemon

la chaussure (f)
the shoe

le sac (m)
the bag

la terre (f)
the earth

le moteur (m)
the engine

How do I know the gender of a French noun? I learn the noun with its article.

Qu’est-ce que c’est?
What is this?

C’est une tasse. (f)
It’s a cup.

For people, the grammatical gender is the same as the gender of the person.

un homme
a man

un garçon
a boy

une femme
a woman

une fille
a girl

For animals, it depends.

Some animals have a “general gender” by which we refer to them.

We always say:

un zèbre (m)
a zebra
une girafe (f)
a giraffe

If we want to be specific about the gender of the animal, we will add mâle or femelle to the noun.

un mâle
a male

une girafe mâle
a male giraffe

une femelle
a female

une girafe femelle
a female giraffe

Other animals have a different or modified noun for the female:

un lion
a lion

un chat
a cat

un chien
a dog

un mouton
a sheep

un cochon
a pig

une lionne (f)
a female lion

une chatte (f)
a female cat

une chienne (f)
a female dog

une brebis (f)
a sheep

une truie (f)
a female pig

More Basic French Lessons

  • Previous Lesson – Greetings Part 2 In this basic French lesson we learn how to greet someone we know and are familiar with. These greetings are a little different than the ones we would use with someone we just met.
  • Next Lesson – The L apostophe Learn all bout the L apostrophe as we expand on French articles and the gender of nouns and articles

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Leave A Reply (138 comments so far)

  1. martha
    5 years ago

    Great, merci.