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French Nouns

Unlike in English, you have to be concerned about the gender of the nouns you use in your sentences. The gender of the noun determines the adjective or pronoun you use with it, and many nouns have two different forms, depending on whether you are speaking of the male or female. In addition, a word spelled or sounded the same way may have a different meaning, depending on whether it is masculine or feminine. So it is important to pay attention to the article (la, le, un, une)

un aide male assistant une aide, female assistant
le bal dance la balle ball
la balle ball la barre bar (rod)
le barbe barb la barbe beard
le cache card/mask la cache cache, hiding place
le capital capital, money la capitale capital city, capital letter
le casse break-in, robbery la casse breaking, damage, breakages
le cave (slang) idiot, sucker la cave basement, cellar
le champagne champagne la Champagne Champagne region
la Champagne Champagne region la chaine chain, channel, stereo
la chaine chain, channel, stereo la chevre goat
le chose thingie, contraption la chose thing
le col collar, neck la colle glue
le coq rooster la coque hull, fuselage
le cours class, course la cour courtyard
le crepe crepe material la crepe thin pancake
le critique male critic la critique criticism, review, female critic
le faune faun la faune fauna
le fil thread, yarn, string la file line, queue
le gene gene la gene trouble, bother
le lac lake la laque lacquer, shellac
le legume vegetable la legume (slang) la grosse legume - big shot
le lieu place la lieue league
la lieue league la livre pound (money & weight)
le mal evil la malle trunk
le manoeuvre laborer la manoeuvre maneuver, operation
le memoire memo, report la memoire memory
le merci thanks la merci mercy
la merci mercy la morale moral (of story), morals
le mort dead body la mort death
le moule mold la moule mussel
la moule mussel la mure blackberry
la mure blackberry la physique physics
la physique physics la reine queen
le rose pink (color) la rose rose (flower)
le roux red, red-head la roux (soup base)
le sel salt la selle saddle
la selle saddle la soie silk
le sol ground, floor, soil la sole sole (fish)
le tour, turn, la tour tower
le vague vagueness la vague wave
le vapeur steamer la vapeur steam, haze,
la vapeur steam, haze, la voile sail

Most nouns form their plural by adding "s", just as in English. There are a number of nouns that form their plural differently:

Singular Plural
Le journal newspaper journaux
Un couteau des couteaux
Le reseau les reseaux

What Did We Learn?

Paying close attention to the article, say the following:

  1. We are going to a dance/there is a grand ball at the townhall (mairie).
  2. Let's go the the bar tonight/ the dancer stands at the barre.
  3. There is a large oak tree in front of that house/I like to watch public T.V.
  4. The collar of his shirt is white/I need glue to fix (reparer) the plate.
  5. This course is easy/that courtyard is beautiful.
  6. I love to eat mussels/he broke (casser) the mold.
  7. Santa and his reindeers/the Queen of England
  8. Put the sole on the ground.
  9. It is your turn to enter the tower.
  10. That old hat has a veil/that old boat has a sail.


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