11 Feminine Formation


Nouns have three Genders: People can be Masculine (for males) or Feminine (for females), things and animals are usually Neutral.

Here, we will take a look at the formation of Feminine gender.

There is not a specific rule, in most cases we obtain the Feminine form by adding –ess, but we can find some exceptions that occur regularly, for example:

  • Suffix –tor or –ter: Change to –tr and add –ess;
  • Suffix –e: Add –ss;
  • Suffix stressed vowel + consonant: Double the consonant and add –ess.

Nouns ending with -tor or -ter

  • I am a great actor.
  • She is my favourite actress.
  • My brother is a waiter.
  • These girls are waitresses.

Nouns ending with -e

  • So the prince and princess got married, and lived happily ever after.

Nouns ending with stressed vowel followed by consonant

  • Zeus is an ancient god.
  • Athena is an ancient goddess.

We form a Feminine version of the word when the person we’re talking about is a woman and the noun has a possible feminine version.

Words that don’t belong to these cases have to be studied by heart!

As previously noted, there are three Genders (Masculine, Feminine and Neutral). It is possible to obtain the female form of a Masculine noun. In most cases, we are able to do this by simply adding an -ess (e.g. host-hostess).

However, there are exceptions and irregularities that need to be studied by heart.

For example:
— With the suffix -tor or -ter: “Actor“> Actress. = We change –tor to –tr and add -ess.
With the suffix -e: “Prince > Princess. = We add -ss.
With the suffix stressed vowel + consonant: “God > Goddess. = We double the consonant d and add -ess.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.