Masculine Nouns

Masculine nouns
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Noms masculins

There’s no simple trick to knowing the gender of every single French noun (other than looking in a dictionary), but there are several categories of words that are always or usually masculine.

Calendar

Le calendrier is masculine, as are all days of the week, months of the year, and seasons:

  • lundi – Monday
  • janvier – January
  • printemps – spring

Une date is feminine, but the dates themselves are always masculine.

  • le 8 mai
  • le 15 octobre
  • le premier janvier

Colors

La couleur is feminine, but all colors are masculine when used as stand-alone nouns.

  • bleu – blue
  • jaune – yellow
  • rouge – red

However, when the color is replacing a noun, it has to agree: Tu préfères la chemise verte ou bleue ? La verte.

Drinks

La boisson is feminine, but most drinks are masculine.

  • le café – coffee
  • le jus – juice
  • le thé – tea
    Exceptions: la citronnade (lemonade), la limonade (lemon soda)

English Imports

Most English words used in French are masculine

  • le challenge
  • le parking
  • le week-end

Food

Any food that doesn’t end in -e is masculine.

  • le haricot – bean
  • le maïs – corn
  • le thon – tuna

There are also a few masculine foods that do end in -e: le beurre, le blé, le concombre, le fromage, le pamplemousse, le poivre

Most names of cheeses are masculine:

  • le brie
  • le comté
  • le roquefort

Notable exceptions: la feta, la fourme, la mimolette, la mozzarella, la ricotta, la tomme

Gems, Metals, Minerals, Rocks, and Stones

Le métal and le minéral are masculine, as are all metals:

  • acier – steel
  • or – gold
  • plomb – lead

and most minerals:

  • le gypse – gypsum
  • le mica – mica
  • le sel – salt
    Exceptions: l’argile (clay), la fluorite (fluorite), les pyrites (pyrite), la silice (silica)

La gemme, la pierre, and la roche are feminine, but most gems, stones, and rocks are masculine:

  • diamant – diamond
  • marbre – marble
  • charbon – coal
  • Exceptions: une émeraude (emerald), une perle (pearl)

Geography

All countries that don’t end in -e are masculine.

  • l’Iran
  • le Mali
  • les États-Unis

As are six that do end in -e: le Belize, le Cambodge, le Mexique, le Mozambique, le Zaïre, le Zimbabwe

All rivers that don’t end in -e are masculine:

  • le Lot
  • le Rhin
  • le Tarn

As is le Rhône.

All compass directions are masculine:

  • nord – north
  • ouest – west
  • sud-est – southeast

Infinitives

All infinitives are masculine when used as nouns.

  • le devoir – duty
  • le pouvoir – power
  • le sourire – smile

Languages

Though the word langue is feminine, all languages are masculine:

  • le français – French
  • le japonais – Japanese
  • le russe – Russian

Letters

Une lettre is feminine, but letters of the alphabet are masculine, such as when talking about the grades on a report card:

  • le "a" (not l’a)
  • le "b"
  • le "c"

Numbers

Le chiffre, le nombre, and le numéro are all masculine, as are most numbers.

Trees

L’arbre is masculine, as are nearly all trees:

  • un chêne – oak tree
  • un oranger – orange tree
  • un palmier – palm tree
    Exception: une aubépine (hawthorn tree)

Weights and Measures

La mesure is feminine, but le poids and nearly all weights and measures are masculine.

  • gramme – gram
  • litre – liter
  • mètre – meter
    Exceptions: une moitié (half), une poignée (handful), une cuillerée (spoonful), and other approximate measures with -ée

Wine

Le vin is masculine, as are all wines

  • le champagne
  • le chardonnay
  • le pinot noir
   
Quiz: Gender

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Masculine French nouns
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