Noun gender

Nouns answer the questions "What is it?" and "Who is it?" They give names to things, people, and places.

Examples
  • dog
  • bicycle
  • Mary
  • girl
  • beauty
  • France
  • world

In general there is no distinction between masculine, feminine in English nouns. However, gender is sometimes shown by different forms or different words when referring to people or animals.

Examples
Masculine Feminine Gender neutral
man woman person
father mother parent
boy girl child
uncle aunt  
husband wife spouse
actor actress  
prince princess  
waiter waitress server
rooster hen chicken
stallion mare horse

Many nouns that refer to people's roles and jobs can be used for either a masculine or a feminine subject, like for example cousin, teenager, teacher, doctor, student, friend, colleague

Examples
  • Mary is my friend. She is a doctor.
  • Peter is my cousin. He is a doctor.
  • Arthur is my friend. He is a student.
  • Jane is my cousin. She is a student.

It is possible to make the distinction for these neutral words by adding the words male or female.

Examples
  • Sam is a female doctor.
  • No, he is not my boyfriend, he is just a male friend.
  • I have three female cousins and two male cousins.

Infrequently, nouns describing things without a gender are referred to with a gendered pronoun to show familiarity. It is also correct to use the gender-neutral pronoun (it).

Examples
  • I love my car. She (the car) is my greatest passion.
  • France is popular with her (France's) neighbours at the moment.
  • I travelled from England to New York on the Queen Elizabeth; she (the Queen Elizabeth) is a great ship.
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