Unit 2.1

Noun Gender

Introduction

Nouns refer to a person, place, thing, event, substance or quality.

Nouns have three genders: masculine, feminine and neutral.

Form

We have nouns that can have the following genders:

  • masculine, feminine and neutral;
  • masculine and feminine;
  • neutral.

Some nouns may have different words for different genders.

Masculine Feminine Neutral
boy girl child
father mother parent
husband wife spouse
man woman person
sir madame
son daughter
uncle aunt
dog
dolphin
table

We usually use he (masculine) and she (feminine) for people.  We use it (neutral) for things and animals (except for pets and domestic animals when they’re considered to be intelligent and to have feelings, where we can use he or she).

We can use they as a neutral third person singular pronoun when we don’t know or don’t want to reveal someone’s gender.

NOTE: We can distinguish the gender of some neutral nouns by adding male or female.

Example

  • My boy likes football, he plays it every day.
  • This girl is very smart, she speaks five languages. 
  • We have a very sweet child, they always say nice things to us. 
  • My uncle doesn’t have a telephone, he is lonely. 
  • My aunt is a doctor, she heals people. 
  • My daughter has a male dog, he is very playful. 
  • The table is broken, we can fix it in the morning.

Use

We use nouns in masculine and feminine genders for men and women and the neutral form for things, animals, events, substance or qualities.

Summary

Nouns have three genders: masculine, feminine, and neutral.

We usually use he and she for people, however we use it for things and animals (we can use he or she for domestic animals).

For example:
— “My father doesn’t eat meat. He is a vegetarian.” = We use he because father is masculine.
— “My mother doesn’t eat meat. She is a vegetarian.” = We use she because mother is feminine.
— “My parents don’t eat meat. They are vegetarian.” = We use they because parents is for both (father and mother).
— “The cat sleeps during the day. It is so cute.” / “The female cat sleeps during the day. She is so cute.” = We can use it or she as it is a domestic animal and female.

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

More exercises

Exercises

External link to Noun Gender exercises (10).




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