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).
LE GENRE DES NOMS (GENDER)
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|
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.
FEMININE FORMS OF NOUNS
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|
LES NOMS AU PLURIEL (PLURAL FORMS)
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|
LES PRONOMS SUJETS
Subject pronouns take the place of a proper noun, like “He” instead of “Marc” or “They” instead of “Mary, John, and Robert.”
|Tu||You (singular, informal)|
|On||One (or “we” generally)|
|Vous||You (plural and/or formal)|
|Ils||They (masculine or mixed)|