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You all know that in French, even inanimate objects are feminine or masculine. But did you know some endings can tell you the gender of nouns? In this blog post, I'll go over the masculine endings.

Making a list of these endings is not an easy thing. There are so many exceptions that I’m pretty sure you can always find words that don’t fit. So take it with a grain of salt.

1 – Typically masculine nouns

Nouns ending in b, c, cle, d, k, l, m, oir, p are typically masculine, but not that numerous in French.

New words, often coming from English, new technologies, ending in “ing” and “isme” are usually masculine.

Now, here are some common endings that are typically masculine. Unfortunately, they also come with exceptions…

– ège, for example le manège (merry go round), un arpège (arpagio)
An exception is La Norvège (Norway)

– é, as in le café (coffee or café), le canapé (the sofa), le carré (the square), le défilé (the procession), le supermarché (the supermarket).
Exceptions: la clé (key), la psyché

– ment, for example le gouvernement (the government), un appartement (a flat), le commencement (the beginning), un abonnement (a subscription).
The one exception is la jument (the mare).

– eau, for example le bateau (the boat), le manteau (the coat), le chapeau (the hat), l’oiseau (the bird).
Exceptions: l’eau (water) and la peau (skin).

– in, for example le vin (the wine), le magasin (the shop), le dessin (the drawing), le chemin (the road, way), le jardin (the garden).
An exception is la fin (the end).

– on, as in le salon (the sitting room), le poisson (the fish), le garçon (the boy), le pantalon (the trousers).
An exception is la maison (the house).

– s as in le bus (bus), le bas (bottom), le plus (the plus)
Exceptions: la brebis (female sheep), la fois (time), une oasis, la souris (mouse), la vis (screw)

2 – Nouns that are more often masculine than feminine.

Some very common endings have just so many exceptions that I’d rather say they are “usually” masculine…

-age, for example le village (village) ,le garage (garage), le fromage (cheese)…..
exceptions: une image (a picture), la plage (the beach), la nage (swimming), la cage (cage), la rage (rage)…
Note that le page is a page boy, but la page is the page of a book (or newspaper, etc.).

– ier and er, as in le fermier (the farmer), l’épicier (the grocer), le cahier (the notebook), le pommier (the apple tree), le boucher (the butcher), le boulanger (the baker).

– eur, as in le travailleur (the worker), un ascenseur (a lift), le moteur (the moteur (the motor), un aspirateur (a vacuum cleaner).
Exceptions include la douleur (the pain), la chaleur (the heat).

– o, for example le vélo (a bike), le zéro (zero).
Exceptions: la météo (the weather forecast), la moto (motobike), la radio (radio)…

Click here to access endings which show feminine words.

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Camille Chevalier-Karfis

Born and raised in Paris, I have been teaching today's French to adults for 20 years in the US and France. Based on my students' goals and needs, I've created unique downloadable French audiobooks focussing on French like it's spoken today, for all levels. Most of my audiobooks are recorded at several speeds to help you conquer the modern French language. Good luck with your studies and remember, repetition is the key!

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