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English Grammar Lesson – GENDER


All living beings belong to either male or female gender.
A noun word that tells us about a male living being human or animal, is said to be of masculine gender.
And a noun that tells us about a female living being human or animal, belongs to the feminine gender.

Masculine  Feminine


Lion Lioness
Man Woman
Boy Girl
Horse Mare
Hero Heroine
Husband Wife

The previous list of words on the left side is all males. They all belong to masculine gender.
List of words on the right side are all females. They all are of feminine gender.

Look at these sentences …

1. Akbar was a great king.
2. Leena is a cheerful girl.
3. There is a lioness in the forest.
4. The hero in this film is very popular.

Common Gender

A noun that can be used both for the male and female in known as a common gender.
Examples:- Friend, parent, Officer, Servant, Thief, Student and Child etc.

1. A friend can be male or female.
2. A parent can be mother or father.
3. An officer can be a man or woman. Same is true for a thief, a student and a child.

Neuter Gender

In English, non-living objects and things do not belong to a particular gender male or female. They are neither masculine nor feminine, they belong to Neuter gender.

Things Like: –

Chair, Table, Book, Fan, Door or Window come under the Neuter gender.
Neuter means neither male nor female.
Words Like:- Plant and Flower also come under the class of Neuter gender. Collective Nouns even when they denote living beings also come under Neuter gender.
Examples : Herd, Class, Army, Group etc.
Objects of nature are often looked upon as persons and are personified as males or females. In that case, natural elements known for beauty, gentleness and grace are seen as belonging to feminine gender.
Nouns such as ship and river are also known as feminine gender.
Elements known for power, violence or cruelty belong to masculine gender.

Examples :

Sun, Ocean, Seasons like, Summer and Winter, Storm and Death etc.

Forming Feminine Genders

Masculine gender can be changed into feminine in different ways.
By using a completely different word
Boy Girl
Man Woman
Dog Bitch
Father Mother
Gentleman Lady

2. By adding ‘ess’

Author Authoress
Heir Heiress
Poet Poetess
Count Countess
Lion Lioness
Host Hostess

3. In some masculine nouns, ‘ess’ is added after dropping the last vowel of the word.

Masculine  Feminine
Actor Actress ‘o’ has been dropped and ‘ess’ as been added
Hunter Huntress ‘e’ between ‘ter’ has been removed and ‘ess’ had been added
Negro Negress ‘last vowel ‘o’ has been dropped and ‘ess’ has been added
Prince Princes last vowel ‘e’ has been replaced by ‘ess’
Tiger Tigress Same in case of ‘tiger’

4. By adding suffix like ‘ine’, ‘ina’ or ‘a’

Hero Heroine ‘ine’ adds after ‘hero’
Czar Czarina ‘ina’
Signor Signora ‘a’ only
5. Sometimes by placing a word before or after
Grandfather Grand mother
Brother in law Sister in law
Land lord Land lady
Peacock Pea hen

Exercise 1:

Write down the appropriate feminine gender words for the masculine nouns given below: –

Brother – Sister
Gander – Goose
Instructor – Instructress
Heir – Heiress
Host – Hostess
Lion – Lioness
Cock sparrow — Hen sparrow
Duke – Duchess
Steward – Stewardess
Washer man – Washer woman
Write down the gender of the following nouns:
Sun — Masculine
Ocean — Masculine
Time — Masculine
Peace — Feminine
Hope — Feminine

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