The noun (French: le nom) is a word that varies in gender and in number. In general, he is used along with a determinant that tells us about its gender and number.
It can be used as:
Any element of the French language can become a noun as long as you can add a determinant to it.
A noun is a naming word which usually is used to describe living beings, things or ideas. All French nouns, unlike English nouns, either have a masculine or feminine gender.
About 60% of all French words are nouns which refer to:
|Persons, Animals||Things||Abstract words|
|l'enfant (the child)||la maison (the house)||le temps (the time)|
|la femme (the woman)||la table (the table)||l'exemple (the example)|
|le chien (the dog)||le lit (the bed)||le travail (the job)|
The form of the noun varies depending on:
The gender (French: le genre) can be said to originate in the notion of sex at least for the nouns of people and animals. But for the largest number of names, the genre is unknown or sometimes comes from a particular origin that does not allow to establish a rule. The use of a dictionary is then indispensable in case of doubt.
|Le panier||(A basket)|
|Un étudiant||(A boy student)|
Normally, the feminine is formed by adding an -e to the masculine noun: un ami ----> une amie
Note that there are some exceptions:
|masculine nouns||feminine nouns||Translations|
|Un tigre||Une tigresse||(A tiger)|
|Un ouvrier||Une ouvrière||(A worker)|
|Un chanteur||Une chanteuse||(A singer)|
|Un directeur||Une directrice||(A headmaster)|
|Un nouveau||Une nouvelle||(A new)|
If we are speaking about a single animal, object or person, the number of the name is singular.
The singular uses theses types of determinants:
|Definite articles||le panier, la femme||The basket, the woman|
|Indefinite articles||un panier, une femme||A basket, a woman|
|Demonstrative||ce panier, cette femme||This basket, this woman|
mon panier, ma femme
son panier, sa femme
ton panier, ta femme
My basket, my wife
His basket, his wife
Your basket, your wife
The singular can be used to designate a group of individuals, objects or animals like in English.
If we are speaking about several animals, objects or people, the number of the name is plural.The plural uses these determinants:
|les||les femmes||The women|
|ces||ces femmes||These women|
|mes||mes femmes||My women|
Some nouns are used only in the plural: des annales (record) , des armoiries (armorial bearings), des condoléances (condolences), des fiançailles (an engagement), des honoraires (an honorarium)
The compound nouns (French: les noms composés) are nouns that are put together to form a meaning. they are sometimes separated by an hyphen. They can be:
|Chemin de fer||(Railway)|
The proper nouns (French: les noms propres) designates a person or object, or a single category of persons or objects. In general, unless otherwise, it has no determinant and starts with a capital letter.
|Tour Eiffel||(Eiffel tower)|
The common nouns (French: les noms communs) are all persons or objects of the same species. He usually has a determinant and he starts with a lowercase letter
|une élève||(A schoogirl)|
|un policier||(A policeman)|
|la voiture||(The car)|
Nouns and nominal groups may have different functions in the sentence:
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