Nouns answer the questions “What is it?” and “Who is it?”
They give names to things, people and qualities.
In general there is no distinction between masculine, feminine and neuter in English nouns. However, gender is sometimes shown by different forms or different words.
Some nouns can be used for either a masculine or a feminine subject:
- Mary is a doctor. She is a doctor
- Peter is a doctor. He is a doctor.
- Arthur is my cousin. He is my cousin.
- Jane is my cousin. She is my cousin.
It is possible to make the distinction by adding the words ‘male’ or ‘female’.
- a female student; a male cousin
For professions, we can add the word ‘woman’
- a woman
doctor; a woman journalist.
In some cases nouns describing things are given gender.
- I love my car. She (the car) is my greatest passion.
- France is popular with her (France’s) neighbours at the moment.
- I travelled from England to New York on the Queen Elizabeth, she (the Queen Elizabeth) is a great ship.