Noun-Gender

Noun-Gender:

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,

MasculineFeminine
BachelorMaid, Spinster
BoyGirl
BoarSow
BrotherSister
BuckDoe
Bull or OxCow
ColtFilly
DroneBee
DogBitch
DrakeDuck
HartRoe
GentlemanLady
GanderGoose
EarlCountess
HawkHowess
HorseMare
HusbandWife
KingQueen
LadLass
LordLady
Mr.Mrs.
Master (boy)Miss (girl)
Friar (monk)Nun
NephewNeice
PapaMamma
Ramewe
SirMadam
SonDaughter
StagHind
UncleAunt
WizardWitch
WidowerWidow

(2) (I) By adding ‘ess’ to the Masculine; as,

MasculineFeminine
AuthorAuthoress
BaronBaroness
CountCountess
GiantGiantess
HeirHeiress
HostHostess
JewJewess
ManagerManageress
MayorMayoress
PatronPatroness
PeerPeeress
PoetPoetess
PriestPriestess
ProphetProphetess
ViscountViscountess
TutorTutoress
ShepherdShepherdess

(II) By dropping the vowel at the end and adding ‘ess’ to the Masculine; as,

MasculineFeminine
ActorActress
ConductorConductress
DirectorDirectress
FounderFoundress
HunterHuntress
InspectorInspectress
MonitorMonitress
NegroNegress
PorterPortress
PrincePrincess
ProtectorProtectress
TigerTigress
TraitorTraitress
WaiterWaitress

(III) By dropping altogether the Masculine ending and adding ‘ess’, as,

MasculineFeminine
AbbotAbbess
DukeDuchess
EmperorEmpress
GovernorGoverness
MasterMistress
MurdererMurderess

(3) By adding Prefixes and Suffixes-

(I) By changing the word before; as,

MasculineFeminine
Brother-in-lawSister-in-law
Bull-calfCow-calf
Cock-sparrowHen-sparrow
Father-in-lawMother-in-law
He-goatShe-goat
he-bearShe-bear
Man-servantMaid-servant
Tom-catShe-cat

(II) By changing the last word; as,

MasculineFeminine
Beggar-manBeggar-woman
Fisher-manFisher-woman
Grand-fatherGrand-mother
Land-lordLand-lady
Milk-manMilk-maid
Pea-cockPea-hen
Step-fatherStep-mother
Washer-manWasher-woman

Note 4- The following are exceptional cases-

MasculineFeminine
AdministratorAdministratrix
Bride-groomBride
CzarCzarina
DoctorLady-doctor
ExecutorExecutrix
FoxVixen
HeroHeroine
LadLass
SultanSultana
TestatorTestatrix

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.


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