The answer for professeur

NicoleA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

The answer for professeur

Hello,

When I took the test it said I got the answer wrong when I said it was Léon. How come the answer is either of them when the professeur is masculine?

Thank you

Nicole

Asked 1 year ago
MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Yes, this can be either a male or female. If the neologism « professeure » was used, definitely would refer to a female teacher, but « professeur » does not indicate the gender of the teacher. Articles are not used in this specific circumstance of defining occupation, but in other situations an article before the profession can indicate the person's gender, as covered in the lesson.

Of course, English has been moving to gender neutral occupational (and other personal) nouns for quite some years now, and the inability to specify a person's gender without further information is pretty much the norm in English too. 

MaartenC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Need the whole question to answer specifically. However, unless there was something in the sentence/context to otherwise restrict the answer to being a male teacher, the grammatically masculine noun « professeur » is invariable to 'actual gender', and  doesn't indicate this.  In the absence of a clarifying piece of information, « professeur » can be either male or female. 

One of the struggles of French for English speakers is to constantly remember that grammatical gender does not always indicate actual gender, as nouns can be invariable to actual gender.

Nor do the possessives eg « mon/ton/son professeur » help to identify 'actual gender'. The possessive article does indicate the grammatical gender of the following noun ( but only then when an invariable noun does NOT start with a vowel or h muet ). Context is needed to know the gender of the possessor/s, and with invariable nouns, to know the actual gender of the possession.

If you haven't come across them yet, you might want to check these further lessons on possessives (and others linked within them):

"Ma" becomes "mon" with feminine nouns starting with a vowel or mute h (French Possessive Adjectives)

Mon, ma, mes; ton, ta, tes; son, sa, ses = my; your; his / her in French (possessive adjectives)

NicoleA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

The question is Je suis professeur. Who is speaking? Then it says Leon , Marie or either of them. 

Thanks

Nicole

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Just to add to Maarten's answer:

Whenever there is an article, you'll know: la professeur (female), le professeur (male). The noun itself is the same and offers no hint as to the gender.

The answer for professeur

Hello,

When I took the test it said I got the answer wrong when I said it was Léon. How come the answer is either of them when the professeur is masculine?

Thank you

Nicole

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