Nouns & Articles

Nouns in French are either people (Marie-Claire, le Président, l’enfant), places (la banque, le pays, la mer), or things (la voiture, le chemisier, le diamant). Every noun is preceded by an article (un, une, des or le, la, l’, les).


All nouns in French have a gender; they are either masculine or feminine. To know the gender of a noun, look first at its article. Nouns preceded by la or une are feminine, and nouns preceded by un or le are masculine. You can also look at the ending of a noun to known whether it is masculine or feminine, though this method is not foolproof since there are exceptions.

Nouns with these endings tend to be masculine Nouns with these endings tend to be feminine
-ant, -an, -and, -in, -ent, -ont, -ond, -om -tion, -sion, -son
-isme -ure
-oir -ée
-ing -té
-eau, -eu -euse
-age -ance, -ence
-ment -ière

In most cases, the gender of a noun in French has nothing to do with whether or not the noun is associated with men or women. For example, le féminisme is masculine and la masculinité is feminine.


If the noun refers to a person or an animal, the gender can be manipulated depending on the sex of the person or animal. To make a masculine noun feminine, you typically just add an -e to the end. If the masculine form already has an -e on it, you do not need to add another one, just change the article.

un étudiant une étudiante
un écrivain une écrivaine
un avocat une avocate
un artiste une artiste

If a noun ends in -n, -eur, -er in the masculine form, it will end in -nne, -euse/-rice and -ère in the feminine.

un chien une chienne
un serveur une serveuse
un acteur une actrice
un fromager une fromagère


To make a singular noun plural in French, add an -s to the end. Remember that you also need to change its article from singular to plural as well.

un chien des chiens
un serveur des serveurs
un acteur des acteurs
un fromager des fromagers

If the singular form of a noun already ends in an -s, -x or -z, you do not need to add anything in order to make that noun plural.

un choix des choix
le pays les pays
le nez les nez

Nouns that end in -eau are made plural by adding an -x instead of an -s.

le tableau les tableaux
le bureau les bureaux
le bateau les bateaux
l’oiseau les oiseaux


Subject pronouns take the place of a proper noun, like “He” instead of “Marc” or “They” instead of “Mary, John, and Robert.”

Je I
Tu You (singular, informal)
Il He, it
Elle She, it
On One (or “we” generally)
Nous We
Vous You (plural and/or formal)
Ils They (masculine or mixed)
Elles They (feminine)