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Job titles differ depending on whether you're a man or a woman (nouns)

Most names for professions change if the person is masculine or feminine.

Je suis avocat, dit Jim.
Je suis avocate, dit Tina.

I'm a lawyer, Jim says.
I'm a lawyer, Tina says.

Je vois un acteur et une actrice sur scène.
I see an actor and an actress on stage.

Il y a un vendeur et une vendeuse.
There is a salesman and a saleswoman.

And also if referring to more than one person:

Lucie et Sarah sont chanteuses.
Lucie and Sarah are singers.

Luc et Patrick sont chanteurs.
Luc and Patrick are singers.

 

BUT 

Luc et Sarah sont chanteurs.
Luc and Sarah are singers.

Masculine always wins in French!  


Here are some more examples:

Voilà le président François et la présidente Angela.
Here are the president François and the president Angela.

Il y a un vendeur et une vendeuse.
There is a salesman and a saleswoman.

  

Le directeur rencontre la directrice.
The headmaster meets the headmistress.

Voilà le chanteur Charles Aznavour et la chanteuse Céline Dion.
Here are the singer Charles Aznavour and the singer Céline Dion.

  

Il y a un docteur et une doctoresse.
There is a (male) doctor and a (female) doctor.

 

 

Exceptions:

Il y a un médecin et un médecin femme.
There is a (male) doctor and a (female) doctor.

Le professeur (ou le prof) s'appelle Eric. 
La professeur (ou la prof) s'appelle Noémie.

The teacher's name is Eric.
The teacher's name is Noémie.

 
-> Note that the Académie Française considers la professeure a neologism.

 

See also Don't use un, une when giving people's professions (zero article)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Daniel est le créateur et Isabelle est la créatrice aussi.
Daniel is the creator and Isabelle is the creator too.


Je vois un acteur et une actrice sur scène.
I see an actor and an actress on stage.


Il y a un médecin et un médecin femme.
There is a (male) doctor and a (female) doctor.



Le professeur (ou le prof) s'appelle Eric. 
La professeur (ou la prof) s'appelle Noémie.

The teacher's name is Eric.
The teacher's name is Noémie.


Le directeur rencontre la directrice.
The headmaster meets the headmistress.


Luc et Sarah sont chanteurs.
Luc and Sarah are singers.


Voilà le président François et la présidente Angela.
Here are the president François and the president Angela.


Il y a un vendeur et une vendeuse.
There is a salesman and a saleswoman.


Luc et Patrick sont chanteurs.
Luc and Patrick are singers.

 


Voilà le chanteur Charles Aznavour et la chanteuse Céline Dion.
Here are the singer Charles Aznavour and the singer Céline Dion.



Lucie et Sarah sont chanteuses.
Lucie and Sarah are singers.


Je suis avocat, dit Jim.
Je suis avocate, dit Tina.

I'm a lawyer, Jim says.
I'm a lawyer, Tina says.


Il y a un docteur et une doctoresse.
There is a (male) doctor and a (female) doctor.



Q&A

tristan

Kwiziq community member

12 July 2018

1 reply

n'est-ce pas docteur pas médecin?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

13 July 2018

13/07/18

Hi Tristan.


Les deux sont permis, techniquement parlant, un médecin est docteur en médecine.


Bonne continuation!


 


 

Vernon

Kwiziq community member

19 June 2018

1 reply

Est-ce qu'on peut dire "la médecin" ou "un professeur femme"?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

19 June 2018

19/06/18

Hi Vernon,


The correct way to talk about women in the jobs that traditionally were the realm of men has changed over the years but now the emphasis is on the job and not the fact that they are female.


There is much polemic about the correct way to describe them but you cannot say 'la médecin', you will use 'la doctoresse' or if you talk about your female doctor, or pilot, or engineer, you will simply say 'mon médecin', 'mon pilote' , 'mon ingénieur' , regardless of their sex.


In the case of teachers, it will be 'la professeur', (or 'la prof' ) and not 'un professeur femme'.


Hope this helps!

Anh

Kwiziq community member

14 June 2018

2 replies

Why is it not une médecin femme?

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

14 June 2018

14/06/18

'médecin' is masculine so 'femme' is added to qualify the gender if it's a woman but it doesn't change the noun. (If there were such a thing as 'une médecin' there'd be no need to add 'femme'.)

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 June 2018

14/06/18

Bonjour Anh!


Because here "femme" is not an adjective, but a noun - "a woman doctor" - so it's "médecin" which acts like a qualifier here and therefore is placed after "femme".


I hope that's helpful!


Bonne journée !

David

Kwiziq community member

11 February 2018

1 reply

Is this becoming obsolete in actual practice, like in English?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

11 February 2018

11/02/18

Bonjour David,


Not at all, quite the contrary. French is moving toward creating feminine forms for nouns that are currently masculine only, such as un pompier, which now has a feminine counterpart une pompière. There's some debate about whether this is necessary / desirable, but it's certainly not going obsolete.

Scott

Kwiziq community member

12 September 2017

1 reply

Je suis acteur ? who is speaking ? Why is the answer not a man, when auteur is masculine.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

12 September 2017

12/09/17

Hi Scott - the answer is male. Where did you see otherwise? Best wishes.

Anish

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2017

1 reply

Hi, are there any rules to remember professions based on genders.

Or is it just something we need to memorize. It becomes a bit complicated since some of them have on form only.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

31 May 2017

31/05/17

If the profession in French ends in -eur, it is typically masculine, contrary to that if it ends in -euse then it is feminine. Also some feminine professions end in -e while the male counterpart do not, i.e. avocate, avocat. Otherwise it is a matter of learning them. Boulanger, Boulangère. Which is male and which is the female baker?
J'espère que cela vous aiderez.
Ron

Anish

Kwiziq community member

28 May 2017

2 replies

Hi, is "il est Professeur" / "Elle est Professeur" correct (no article before profession).

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

28 May 2017

28/05/17

Yes, it's correct: see https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/dont-use-indefinite-articles-with-professions

Ron

Kwiziq community member

31 May 2017

31/05/17

Lisa est une très bonne vendeuse.
In French, you always need an article in front of a group including an adjective, and that rule applies to professions:
Paul est un professeur extraordinaire.
Otherwise: Paul est professeur. (note: no adjective, hence no article)

Advika

Kwiziq community member

30 September 2016

2 replies

Un acteur une actrice

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

1 October 2016

1/10/16

Oui, tout à fait.

Aishatu

Kwiziq community member

27 November 2016

27/11/16

Un actor
Let me take a look at that...