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Nouns that change meaning depending on whether they're masculine or feminine

Look at these examples:

J'aime le livre de Paul.
I like Paul's book.

Cette boîte pèse une livre.
This box weighs a pound.

Nous avons fait le tour du musée.
We did the tour of the museum.We went around the museum.

Il admire la Tour Eiffel.
He admires the Eiffel Tower.

J'adore la mode!
I love fashion!

Ils préfèrent le mode automatique.
They prefer the automatic setting / mode.

Il m'a offert le poste.
He offered me the (job) position.

Elle va à la poste.
She's going to the post office.

 

Notice that in some cases, some very common nouns change their meaning when their gender changes.

This is actually due to the fact that these two identical words often have completely different origins, and that the evolution of language coincidentally made them look the same.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

le/la livre


Cette boîte pèse une livre.
This box weighs a pound.


J'aime le livre de Paul.
I like Paul's book.


le/la mode


Ils préfèrent le mode automatique.
They prefer the automatic setting / mode.


J'adore la mode!
I love fashion!


le/la poste


Il m'a offert le poste.
He offered me the (job) position.


Elle va à la poste.
She's going to the post office.


le/la tour


Nous avons fait le tour du musée.
We did the tour of the museum.We went around the museum.


Il admire la Tour Eiffel.
He admires the Eiffel Tower.


Q&A

Paul

Kwiziq community member

12 May 2018

2 replies

Prescriptive versus descriptive English

I read the Q&A for this lesson on collective nouns and the discussion at https://french.kwiziq.com/is-this-english-correct and I see where Kwiziq is coming from. However, it would clearer for many Engliish speakers if you left out the "how it is in English" versus "how it is in French" comparisons. There are too many interpretations of collective nouns in different forms of English, and many of us haven't learnt the English prescriptions, so we are probably making frequent mistakes in English. In other words, just give teach the French grammar.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

14 May 2018

14/05/18

Hi Paul - thanks for the feedback. I'm not sure if you posted this here but meant a different lesson? I can't see anything on collective nouns here. We constantly strive to make things clearer so if any part of a lesson is confusing, if you could quote the specific part under the lesson where it occurs we can take a look at it.  Merci!

Paul

Kwiziq community member

14 May 2018

14/05/18

That's right, it should be in Nouns that are plural in English but singular in French, and vice versaI have reposted it.Thanks.

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