Date of publication


Paperback ISBN-13

ISBN: 978 185341 146 5 paperback only




148 x 105 mm, saddle-stitched


25 grammes



Le or La How to Remember the Genders of French Nouns
Richard Gordon-Freeman


Is that French noun masculine or feminine?

Do you say LE or LA? MON or MA? BLANC or BLANCHE? One of the major problems in studying French is learning and remembering the genders of nouns. Because all articles, pronouns and adjectives must agree with their noun, it is absolutely essential to get the gender right.

Most French grammars outline a few basic rules, but insist that the only satisfactory way to avoid mistakes is by memorising the gender when you learn each word.

There is no need for this. Most of the French nouns you are likely to use conform to simple rules, or are easily remembered exceptions. There is one tricky area, however, but in general the rules will enable you to speak the language with more confidence and fluency.

The author has analysed quite complicated articles written in French and found that over ninety per cent of the nouns used were covered by the rules provided here. That is proof enough that this information is worth having.

The rules are laid out as simply as possible, and you are given Key words that will help you to remember each rule. There are only 24 of them – fewer than the letters of the alphabet.



Nouns ending in a consonant

Nouns ending in -MENT

Nouns ending in -ACLE, -AGE, -ÈGE, -ÈME, -ASME, -ISME

Nouns ending in -EAU

Nouns ending in -I, -A, -O, -U

Seasons, days, directions, metals, trees, measures, infinitives used as nouns, English words


Nouns ending in a vowel +E

Nouns ending in a double consonant +E

Nouns ending in -ISE

Nouns ending in -ANCE (-ENCE, -ENSE), -IÈRE, -OIRE

Nouns ending in -ACE, -ADE, -UDE, -URE

Nouns ending in -ION, -SON

Arts, sciences and trades

Nouns ending in -TÉ

Nouns ending in -EUR

Countries and regions ending in -E

Other nouns ending in -E

Words with different meanings according to gender

Typical words with masculine and feminine versions

Key words to help memorize the rules

How to develop a huge vocabulary based on English words


‘No more guess-work with the gender of French nouns! Deceptively small in size, this book is a BIG help for students of the French language, offering them clear, well-tested and easy to remember rules for using le or la with confidence; and to think it took an Englishman to unravel the mystery of feminine and masculine nouns …’
Catherine Pinchetti, teacher of French as a Foreign Language, French Communication, Cambridge, UK.


Richard Gordon-Freeman

The Author, Richard Gordon-Freeman was born in 1938, and educated at Mill Hill School. He became a teacher, then lived and worked in Germany for a year and a half to learn the language. He occasionally taught at the Berlitz language school in Mannheim, using their ‘audio-lingual’ method.

His book Graffiti (Hutchinson) was published in 1966, a semiserious look at ‘the poetry of the poor’, which had excellent reviews. His own poetry has been published in many of the best literary magazines (and a few of the worst), and broadcast on the BBC, who also conducted a lengthy interview about Le or La during their ‘French week’.

When Richard originally worked out the rules in this little book and sent them to the Académie Française for approval, their spokesman said how surprised he was that there were any rules … and could find no fault with them.


Direct from the Publisher; in London - The European Bookshop; Foyles, Charing Cross Road.

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