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 stating people's professions (zero article)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

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.



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.


Q&A Forum 15 questions, 19 answers

MargaretA2Kwiziq community member

Time to update this lesson/question?

L'Académie officially changed the rules on this a couple of months ago: https://www.france24.com/fr/20190228-academie-francaise-feminisation-langue-metier

As recently as 2014 they said the feminized forms (professeure, écrivaine, etc.) were "véritables barbarismes", but now their use "ne constitue pas une menace pour la structure de la langue"... They specify that the e at the end must never be pronounced though, so it's effectively just a spelling change.

Asked 7 months ago
BARRYA1Kwiziq community member

Is professeuse incorrect?

Time to update this lesson/question?

L'Académie officially changed the rules on this a couple of months ago: https://www.france24.com/fr/20190228-academie-francaise-feminisation-langue-metier

As recently as 2014 they said the feminized forms (professeure, écrivaine, etc.) were "véritables barbarismes", but now their use "ne constitue pas une menace pour la structure de la langue"... They specify that the e at the end must never be pronounced though, so it's effectively just a spelling change.

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JoanA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

If I want to say 'she is a teacher', it should be 'c'est une/un professeur'?

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Joan,

Yes, you would say,

‘C’est une professeur/e’

or

‘Elle est professeur/e

 

 

 

If I want to say 'she is a teacher', it should be 'c'est une/un professeur'?

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PatrickA2Kwiziq community member

Question needs rewording

Nous sommes professeurs.'' Who can be speaking? Alain and Georges,  Georges and Fiona,  Fiona and Judy, Fiona, Georges.  Why can't *Fiona* or *Georges* be speaking on their own? e.g Fiona is talking to a group of people about herself and another person. She says "Nous sommes professeurs". Likewise for Georges. The sentence does not require two people to be speaking simultaneously."
Asked 9 months ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Patrick !

I see your point, therefore I've rephrased the question as "Who can this sentence be referring to?"

Bonne journée !

Question needs rewording

Nous sommes professeurs.'' Who can be speaking? Alain and Georges,  Georges and Fiona,  Fiona and Judy, Fiona, Georges.  Why can't *Fiona* or *Georges* be speaking on their own? e.g Fiona is talking to a group of people about herself and another person. She says "Nous sommes professeurs". Likewise for Georges. The sentence does not require two people to be speaking simultaneously."

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RitaA0Kwiziq community member

I thought Je suis only meant I am in French ?

Asked 10 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Je suis. -- I am.

Just for completness sake, there is the verb suivre (to follow) which also looks like suis in the first person singular.

I thought Je suis only meant I am in French ?

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JamesA2Kwiziq community member

Q:"''Nous sommes professeurs.'' Who can be speaking?" A: "Georges" - Why?

I understand about mixed gender and singular/plurals, but this strikes me as a misleading question - the other options were the standard mix of genders, but I would assume if only person was speaking (Georges), then the question means who is this referring to, not speaking, and so this would not be a correct answer.
I don't think this is a case of misunderstood grammar, just a poorly phrased question. What I think the writer had in mind was that just George was speaking, and was referring to himself and someone else, but the other answers all imply one person speaking, unless two people were speaking at exactly the same time (unlikely!), e.g. "Georges and Fiona".

Anyone care to shed light on the matter before I report?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I agree, James, the question is poorly phrased. It can be interpreted in a way that all choices are correct, i.e., Georges is speaking and referring to an (unmentioned) group of people.

But even without this, the question doesn't really test whether you can distinguish the male or female version of professeur. It just tests whether you know that sommes refers to more than one person.

James asked:View original

Q:"''Nous sommes professeurs.'' Who can be speaking?" A: "Georges" - Why?

I understand about mixed gender and singular/plurals, but this strikes me as a misleading question - the other options were the standard mix of genders, but I would assume if only person was speaking (Georges), then the question means who is this referring to, not speaking, and so this would not be a correct answer.
I don't think this is a case of misunderstood grammar, just a poorly phrased question. What I think the writer had in mind was that just George was speaking, and was referring to himself and someone else, but the other answers all imply one person speaking, unless two people were speaking at exactly the same time (unlikely!), e.g. "Georges and Fiona".

Anyone care to shed light on the matter before I report?

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MarlaA2Kwiziq community member

Is there no such thing as la professeuse?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
No, there is only la professeur.

Is there no such thing as la professeuse?

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SundasA1Kwiziq community member

Hi

“Vous êtes vendeues “

I chose Grace and Tom speaking but my answer was wrong the correct one was Grace and Anna.Can anyone explain why since vous is to address both gender.Many thanks.

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Grace and Tom are a mixed gender group, whereas Grace and Anna are a pure female group. Vous êtes vendeuses is the female form and hence leaves no room for Tom.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Sundas asked:View original

Hi

“Vous êtes vendeues “

I chose Grace and Tom speaking but my answer was wrong the correct one was Grace and Anna.Can anyone explain why since vous is to address both gender.Many thanks.

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TristanA0Kwiziq community member

n'est-ce pas docteur pas médecin?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Tristan.

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

Bonne continuation!

 

 

n'est-ce pas docteur pas médecin?

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VernonB2Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

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(e)' , 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!

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

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AnhA1Kwiziq community member

Why is it not une médecin femme?

Asked 1 year ago
GruffKwiziq team member
'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'.)
AurélieKwiziq team member

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 !

Why is it not une médecin femme?

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DavidA1Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 1 year ago
LauraKwiziq team member

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.

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

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Scott A1Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq team member
Hi Scott - the answer is male. Where did you see otherwise? Best wishes.

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

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AnishA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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.
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
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

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.

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AnishA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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

Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
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)

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

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AdvikaA1Kwiziq community member

Un acteur une actrice

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Oui, tout à fait.
AishatuA1Kwiziq community member
Un actor
RuthA2Kwiziq community member

in the US, in the last decade or so, “actor” is a term preferred by many professionals who might once have been called “actresses.” (And the word “poetess” now is an archaic way to réfère to a female poet.)  Are there professionals in French film and theatre who also prefer to be “acteurs”?

Un acteur une actrice

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