Leçon 8: Féminin et masculin 
French 10
Unité 1
Estimated time 80 minutes


The student will:


By now we have seen a lot of vocabulary words, you can have a sense of what are verbs, pronouns, nouns, adjectives, etc... Something that is special to several languages but not to English, is that nouns have a gender. This is what we will look at in the first part of Leçon 8.  We will also look at the plural form of nouns... which is a bit different from English.


Go to your Manuel d'accompagnement and read pages 93 to 97. Read about "le genre des noms", le féminin et le masculin, read about "le nombre des nom", le singulier et le pluriel.

Spend time understanding the patterns for groups of nouns that tell you if they are masculine or feminine, singular or plural... you are not expected to know all of the vocabulary that is used but to be familiar with the way nouns are classified.  You are not expected either to know all the rules by heart at this time.  This section of the Manuel d'accompagnement is for reference :-)


In some languages, nouns have genders. That doesn’t mean that the nouns necessarily have anything to do with men or women. Of course, if a noun refers to a man or a woman, it usually is masculine or feminine. It is always best to learn the gender of the noun when you first encounter it.


Le garçon joue au soccer.

The boy plays soccer.

Le garçon is a masculine noun. You can tell it’s masculine by the article that comes in front of it, le

Here’s another example:

Le crayon est vert.

The pencil is green.

Le crayon is a masculine noun too. This is a good example of a "thing" being labeled as "masculine," even though it has nothing to do with men.


La fille joue au tennis.

The girl plays tennis.

La fille is feminine. Feminine nouns have a different article in French, la:

La fleur est rouge.

The flower is red.

Even though the noun la fleur, the flower, has no feminine qualities, it is still a feminine noun.

Here are some more examples of gender:





le livre

the book

la fenêtre

the window

le stylo

the pen

la porte

the door


A single thing, idea or person is said to be in the SINGULAR. Several things, ideas, persons (people) are said to be in the PLURAL. To indicate that a noun is in the plural, French usually adds an -s to the noun, does nothing if the noun already ends in -s or -x, or transforms the ending (usually –al or -eau) into –aux or -eaux.

Go to page 80, 81 and 82 in your Manuel d'accompagnement. Read about "les articles définis" and about "les articles indéfinis".

This time you are expected to know and understand that section very well; what the different articles are and how they are used.  

Indefinite Articles

Indefinite articles are used to talk about the general idea of a thing, rather than a specific thing.

J’ai un chien.

I have a dog.

Un is the masculine indefinite article. The way it’s used, you really don’t know which dog the person has or what kind of dog it is.

J’ai une fleur.

I have a flower.

Une is the feminine indefinite article in French. In this example, the person has a flower, but you don’t know which one it is, because it hasn’t been specified.

J’ai des livres.

I have books.

Des is the indefinite article used in the plural for both masculine and feminine nouns. Notice that in English you don’t need an indefinite article in front of plural nouns. In French, however, you will need to add the article des!

Here are some more examples of indefinite articles in front of nouns:

un stylo

a pen

des stylos


une chaise

a chair

des chaises


un arbre

a tree

des arbres


Definite Articles

Definite articles in French are used to single something out, or talk about something there’s only one of.

Le grand chien est content.

The big dog is happy.

Le is the French definite article used with masculine, singular nouns. In this sentence, there’s only one dog being referred to – the big one that is happy.

La fleur rose est belle.

The pink flower is beautiful.

La is the French definite article used with feminine, singular nouns. In this sentence, there’s only one flower being referred to – the beautiful, pink flower, and not any other flower.

L’ hôtel rose est cher.

The pink hotel is expensive.

When a noun begins with a vowel sound, just as in the word "hôtel", the singular definite article becomes l’. Notice that this applies to both masculine and feminine nouns.

Les maisons roses sont grandes.

The pink houses are big.

Les is the French definite article used with plural nouns. It is used to refer to one or more specific items, in this case, the big, pink houses. Notice that les is used with both masculine and feminine nouns.

L’homme est content.

The man is happy.

Of course, you can also use definite articles when there’s only one of something to refer to. The one man that there is, is happy.

Read the information at these three sites.




In an email with the subject heading FR10U1L8.username, first tell me what is the article missing in each of the 20 sentences.  Use this format:
1. le
2. la
3. des

In order to find if the noun is feminine or masculine, go to this French online dictionary.  Enter the noun that you want to know about in the green square on the left hand side, and then click  Chercher.   http://www.francophonie.hachette-livre.fr/

The noun will come up at the top of the page.  Beside the noun you will find n.f. or n.m.

n.f. = nom féminin... so you need la, l', une, les or des (depends on the context and if singular or plural)

n.m. = nom masculin... so you need le, l', un, les or des (depends on the context and if singular or plural)

Complete the two activities posted under this lesson; FR10U1L8A and FR10U1L8B.

In the same email send me the complete answers for each activity.  Because the questions and answers are displayed randomly every time you access the activities, you need to write the answer in full.

le = Is used to single something out...

le ballon
des stylos

This assignment is due on Thursday, 2002 March 7 by 10:00 pm. Please e-mail me at prattel@rvvs.com


In this lesson you have learned about gender and number of French nouns and about definite and indefinite articles.