Please note that most words ending in -e in french are feminine, most words ending with a consonant or not an "e" are masculine. However, this is far from being a strict rule, and there are many exceptions (see table below).
*Even though "les" or "des" is used for both masculine and feminine nouns, knowing the gender of the noun is important.
A noun may come with the following grammatical influencers:
All adjectives agree in number and gender with the noun they qualify.
*Though we use "les" for both nouns, the corresponding adjectives still have to reflect the gender, as well as the number, of the nouns. So "verts" is masculine plural because "stylos" is masculine plural.
All possessive adjectives and pronouns agree in number and gender with the noun used.
All demonstrative pronouns and adjectives agree in number and gender with the noun used.
All interrogatives pronouns and adjectives agree in number and gender with the noun used.
The subject pronoun has to agree with the number and gender of the noun it replaces.
Le stylo vert - the green pen
Il est vert - it* (he) is green
La fleur verte - The green flower
Elle est verte - It (she) is green
Les stylos verts - The green pens
Ils sont verts - They are green
Les fleurs vertes - The green flowers
Elles sont vertes - They are green
*There is no such a thing as "it" in French, so everything has to be HE or SHE no matter if it is a door or a girl we are referring to.
When using the auxiliary verb "être" in a passé composé, the past participle of the conjugated verb must agree in gender and number with the subject.
Je suis allé(e)*
Tu es allé(e)*
Il est allé
Elle est allée
Nous sommes allé(e)s
Vous êtes allé(e)(s)
Ils sont allés
Elles sont allées
*The (e) will only be needed if "je", "tu", "nous", "vous" are referring to feminine subjects.
The following endings usually indicate a feminine noun. However, there are some important exceptions, some of which are provided for information.
|Endings||Some examples||Some exceptions|
|-e||la table (the table), la chaise (the chair), une école (a school), la France (France), la Belgique (Belgium)||l'arbre (the tree), le cartable (the satchel), le téléphone (the phone), le livre (the book)|
|-aille, -eille||la médaille (a medal), la taille (the size), une abeille (a bee), une bataille (a battle)|
|-esse||une forteresse (a fortress), la gentillesse (kindness), la princesse (the princess)|
|-ière||une infirmière (a nurse), la couturière (the seamstress), la cafetière (the coffee machine)||le cimetière (cemetery), l'arrière (the back)|
|-té, -tié||l’amitié (friendship), la santé (health), la liberté (freedom), la volonté (will)||l’été (the summer), un invité (a guest), un traité (a treaty)|
|la natation (swimming), la décision (the decision), la conclusion (the conclusion), la télévision (the TV), la pression (the pressure), la progression (the progression)|
|-tte||une recette (a recipe), une dette (a debt), une maisonnette(a small house)|
|-tude||l'inquiétude (worry), l'aptitude (the ability), l'habitude (the habit)|
The following endings usually indicate a masculine noun, however, there are also many exceptions...
|Endings||Some examples||Some exceptions|
|le miracle (the miracle), le village (the village), l’enthousiasme (enthusiasm), le collège (the secondary school), le système (the system), le thème (the theme), le modernisme (modernism)||la page (the page), la plage (a beach), une image (an image), la Norvège (Norway), la crème (the cream)|
|le travail (work), un éventail (a fan), le soleil (the sun), le réveil (an alarm clock), le fauteuil (the armchair)|
|-eur||le docteur (the doctor), le bonheur (happiness), l'ascenseur (the lift), le professeur (the teacher)||la blancheur (whiteness), la chaleur (heat), la pâleur (pallor), la lenteur (slowness)|
|le bateau (the boat), le château (the castle), le paquebot (the liner), l'abricot (the apricot), le canal (the canal), le cheval (the horse), un hôpital (a hospital), un bureau (a desk or an office)||la peau (the skin), l’eau (water)|
|-ment||un bâtiment (a building), un instrument (an instrument), un équipement (an equipment)||une jument (a mare)|
|-oir||un manoir (a manor), un miroir (a mirror), un trottoir (a pavement), un arrosoir (a watering can)|
|-ou||un kangourou (a kangourou), un clou (a nail), un hibou (an owl)|