The Gender of a Noun means the sex of the noun.
We see that man and boy belong to the male sex. Woman and girl belong to the female sex. The word baby denotes either she is male or female while pencil is the name of an object without life.
In grammar, the difference in sex is denoted by Genders. The various genders are as follows-
(1) Masculine Gender- The names of the male persons or animals; as, king, father, boy, lion, cock, etc.
(2) Feminine Gender- The names of the female persons or animals; as, queen, mother, girl, lioness, hen, etc.
(3) Neuter Gender- The names of things without life; as, table, pencil, wall, knife, sword, etc.
Note- Material, Abstract and Collective Nouns, lower animals and very young children are considered to be of Neuter Gender.
(4) Common Gender- Nouns used for both males and females; as, child, friend, cousin, servant, neighbour, enemy, mouse, deer, elephant, etc.
Note 1- Lifeless objects known for strength or greatness are very commonly treated as male; as, sun, wind, summer, winter, storm, thunder, ocean, death, etc.; as,
- The sun sheds his rays on the rich and the poor alike.
- The wind blew with all his fury.
- Death lays his icy hands on kings even.
Note 2– Lifeless objects are known for beauty, gentleness, grace, weakness, peace, hope, charity, spring and certain machines are treated as Feminine Gender; as,
- The noon hid her face behind a cloud.
- Peace hath her victories not less renowned than that of war.
- Spring has spread her mantle of green over the earth.
Note 3- Objects without life are sometimes personified as if they were living beings. We then regard them as males or females; as,
- A cloud-burst often lets loose his devastation.
- Spring accompained with her profuse flowers and greenery, beautifies every nook and corner.
Ways of Forming the Feminine of Nouns:
There are three ways of forming the Feminine of Nouns-
(1) By using entirely different words; as,
|Bull or Ox||Cow|
|Master (boy)||Miss (girl)|
(2) (I) By adding ‘ess’ to the Masculine; as,
(II) By dropping the vowel at the end and adding ‘ess’ to the Masculine; as,
(III) By dropping altogether the Masculine ending and adding ‘ess’, as,
(3) By adding Prefixes and Suffixes-
(I) By changing the word before; as,
(II) By changing the last word; as,
Note 4- The following are exceptional cases-
Note 5- The following nouns have Common Gender; as,
Bird, Baby, Child, Cat, Cousin, Calf, Companion, Deer, Elephant, Friend, Foal, Infant, Mouse, Person, Monarch, Parent, People, Pedaller, Pupil, Rat, Sheep, Servant, etc.