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French Nouns ~ Noms

Introduction to French nouns


A noun is a word that represents a person, place, or thing, whether concrete (e.g., chair, dog) or abstract (idea, happiness). In French, all nouns have a gender - they are either masculine or feminine. The gender of some nouns makes sense (homme [man] is masculine, femme [woman] is feminine) but others don't: the words personne [person] and victime [victim] are always feminine, even when the person or victim is a man!

It is very important to learn a noun's gender along with the noun itself because articles, adjectives, some pronouns, and some verbs have to agree with nouns; that is, they change depending on the gender of the noun they modify.

The best way to learn the gender of French nouns is to make your vocabulary lists with the appropriate definite article or indefinite article. That is, rather than a list like this:
  • livre - book
  • chaise - chair
make French vocabulary lists like this:
  • un livre - book
  • une chaise - chair
so that you learn the gender with the noun. The gender is part of the noun and you will be much better off learning it now, as a beginner, than trying to go back after years of study and memorizing the genders of all the words you've already learned (I speak from experience). Also, there are quite a few French nouns with different meanings depending on whether they are masculine or feminine - learn more.

Introduction to French nouns
Gender of French nouns
Making French nouns feminine and plural
French nouns with irregular feminine forms
French nouns with irregular plurals
French noun gender quiz
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