Nouns and Gender

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Nouns and Gender :

Present-day English has no grammatical gender which exists in many other languages (Hindi, Sanskrit, French and German). However, nouns are regarded as masculine or feminine according to the sex of the people or animals.

Traditionally, nouns are often divided into….

1. Masculine Genders
2. Feminine Genders
3. Neuter Genders
4. Common Genders

Nouns referring to male people or animals (e.g. hero, brother, cock) are said to be of the masculine gender.

Nouns referring to female people or animals (e.g. heroine, sister and hen) are said to be of the feminine gender.

Nouns referring to things without life (e.g. chair, pen-drive, cup) arc said to be in the neuter gender.

Nouns which are either masculine or feminine (e.g. student, doctor, elephant) are said to be of the common gender.

We often use it for babies whose sex we don’t know. Animals are often called he or she when their sex is known and are thought of as having intelligence or feelings (e.g. pet animals).

Where is the dog? Has mother taken him out?

Ships and countries are normally considered feminine.

Last year India increased her exports by 10 per cent.

Some people treat cars and other vehicles as feminine.
My car is splendid. She can go a hundred miles an hour.

The feminine of a noun is formed by the ending ESS.


The feminine of a noun is formed by a totally different word.

uncle — aunt

Most nouns have the same form for masculine and feminine.


Some women may be offended if you use words like….


Today many people avoid using feminine words like these. There is a growing tendency to use the words ACTOR (instead of “actress”), HOST (instead of “hostess”) and so on. Some vocabulary changes are being introduced as a result of the feminist movement.

For example, the feminine word AIR-HOSTESS is often replaced by FLIGHT-ATTENDANT.

The words AUTHORESS and POETESS have gone out of use.

The words AUTHOR and POET are now used for both men and women.

The words CHAIRPERSON and SPOKESPERSON are preferred to CHAIRWOMAN and SPOKESWOMAN respectively and are also used for people of either sex.

So, formation of gender-based nouns is not preferred now.

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