It’s crucial to understand the distinction between natural and grammatical gender. Natural sex refers to an animal’s, person’s, or character’s biological sex. Grammatical gender is a classification system for nouns. However, this does not always correspond to the person’s or object’s “natural gender.”

There is more to grammatical gender in some languages than “male” or “female.” A “neuter” class exists in some languages. In some languages, animate and inanimate objects have different genders. Take a look at how this works in different languages.

When it comes to gender and grammar, English makes our lives a little easier. Let’s read the article to clear your doubts!

Genders in English Grammar

Grammatical gender is a type of noun class system in literature in which the division of noun classes forms an agreement system with another aspect of the language, such as pronouns, adjectives, articles, or verbs.

Most or all nouns in vocabulary with grammatical gender have one sign of the grammatical category called gender inherently; the values present in a given speech (of which there are usually two or three) are referred to as the genders of that language.

Type of Gender with Examples

Masculine Gender

Masculine is a noun that denotes a male subtype. For instance, a fox, a father, a king, a man, a bull, a boy, a cock, and so on. The words defining the male subtypes above can be used in the following sentences:

The king’s benevolence was well-known throughout the kingdom.

Ram’s father is a dedicated worker.

The nimble brown fox leapt over the grapes.

In spoken and written English, pronouns frequently replace nouns. In the singular, masculine nouns are replaced with ‘him/he,’ and in the plural, with ‘them/they.’

When the noun ‘man’ is replaced, the sentence can be written as

He is punctual and always dedicated to his work.

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Feminine Gender

Feminine is a noun that denotes a female subtype. Queen, hen, woman, vixen, girl, mother, cow, and so on. In other words, feminine gender nouns are feminine gender nouns. The following are some examples of sentences that use feminine genders:

The maiden was completely unaware of her father’s involvement in the war.

Women’s clothing is made with smaller pockets in mind.

After bruising her knees, she dashed up to her mother.

In singular sentences, feminine nouns are replaced with the pronouns ‘her/she’ and ‘them/they’ in plural sentences. As an example,

She was completely unaware of her father’s involvement in the war.

‘It’ is used to refer to other animate entities such as plants and animals. As an example,

It leapt over the barrier.

Neuter Gender

The neuter encompasses nouns that are neither male nor female. For instance, hair, table, city, and so on. These nouns are non-living or inanimate entities that have neither a masculine nor a feminine gender assigned to them. In the singular, these nouns are replaced by the pronoun ‘it,’ and in the plural, by the pronoun ‘they.’

Here are some examples of sentences:

Since the death of the chief minister, the state has gone through a lot.

Please hand the bat over to me.

In most parts of the world, English is the dominant language.

Common Gender

If we look closely, we can see that English has a large number of nouns that do not specify the sex of the noun. These nouns can be used to refer to both men and women. For instance, a cousin, a teacher, a parent, a student, and so on.

The reader or listener is unsure whether the teacher is female or male in the sentence “The manager decided to leave the office early.” The common category includes nouns that can be used to represent both masculine and feminine sexs. Other examples of sentences with the same sex are:

His parents have an appointment with the doctor today.

The guests have arrived at the entrance.

Musicians from all over the region are excited for the festival.

The doctor has recommended that surgery be performed right away.

In English, nouns, in addition to sex, account for numbers. For example, the term ‘chair’ refers to a single table, whereas the term ‘chairs’ refers to multiple tables.

Examples of the Types

Masculine Feminine Gender neutral
man woman person
father mother parent
boy girl child
uncle aunt
husband wife spouse
actor actreness
prince princess
rooster waitress server
waiter hen chicken
stallion mare horse

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Functions of Grammatical Gender

The following are three functions:

#It is simple to express the natural gender of animate beings in a language with explicit inflexions.

#They “can be a useful tool for disambiguation,” bringing antecedents into sharper focus.

#They can be used to “animate and personify inanimate nouns” in literature.

Gender Contrasts

Common structures of contrast include:

#masculine-feminine contrast

#masculine–feminine–neuter contrast

#animate-inanimate contrast

#common-neuter contrast

Masculine-Feminine Contrast with Examples

Nouns that denote specifically those that denote specifically female individuals (or animals) are normally feminine; male individuals (or animals) are normally masculine and nouns that denote something that has nil gender or do not tell or specify the sex of them, have come to belong to one of them in a random way.

Most modern Indo-Aryan languages (e.g., Hindi), Celtic languages, Romance languages, Baltic languages, and Afroasiatic languages are examples of languages with such a system.

Masculine-Feminine-Neuter Contrast with Examples

This is similar to the above system, except there is a third available gender, so nouns with unspecified-sex or sexless referents can be feminine, masculine, or neuter. There are also some exceptional nouns whose sex does not correspond to the denoted sex, such as the neuter German Mädchen, which means “girl.”

This is due to the fact that it is a diminutive of “Magd,” and all diminutive forms ending in -chen are neuter. Later forms of most Slavic languages, some Germanic languages, Proto-Indo-European, Sanskrit, Marathi, a few Romance languages including Romanian and Latin, Asturian, and Greek are all examples of languages with such a system.

Animate-Inanimate Contrast with Examples

Nouns that denote animate things (animals and humans) are usually of one sex, while nouns that denote inanimate things are of the other (although there may be some variation from that principle).

Early forms of Proto-Indo-European, as well as the earliest family, is known to have split off from it, the extinct Anatolian languages, are examples. Algonkian languages like Ojibwe are modern examples.

Common-Neuter Contrast with Examples

The distinction between feminine and masculine sex has been lost in nouns (they have merged into what is known as common sex), but not in pronouns that can operate under natural gender. People’s nouns are typical of the common, whereas other nouns can be of either sex.

Swedish and Danish are two examples, as is Dutch to some extent. The dialect of Bergen, the old Norwegian capital, exclusively uses common gender and neuter. The masculine gender in Norwegian Bokmal is inflected with the same suffixes and articles as the common gender in Danish and Bergen.

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Gender Work in Foreign Languages

We do not assign a sex to words in English. But, in a foreign language, how does gender work? Boys (il bambino) are masculine to Italians. On the other hand, girls (la bambina) are feminine.

The three basic eating utensils are assigned to three different genders in Germany, for example, the fork (die Gabel) is feminine. The Messer (knife) is a neutral object. Finally, a spoon (der Löffel) has a masculine connotation. Surprisingly, a young lady (das Mädchen) in German is not assigned a sex.

Of course, German isn’t the only language in which lifeless objects are classified as “male” or “female.” It’s also not the only language that gives living things a grammatical gender that has nothing to do with their sex. A girl (cailn) is masculine in Irish, whereas a stallion (stail) is feminine.

Find an Alternative to Him/Her

Consider the following sentences:

Each member must understand his or her place within the company.

Anyone who forgets her passport will be escorted back to her home country.

However, what if they aren’t all men? It used to be common to address strangers with him or her, but that is no longer the case. Of course, it is sexist and inaccurate.

You could write:

Each person must understand where he or she fits in the company to get around this.

Anyone who forgets their passport will be sent back to their home country.

However, because these are clumsy solutions, many people naturally choose this:

Everyone needs to know where they belong in the company.

Anyone who forgets their passport will be escorted back to their home nation.

Choose the Right Version

Depending on the sex, the word blonde/blond changes.

Blond is a noun that refers to a man with fair hair.

The blond sports stylish footwear.

(We know it’s a boy now.)

Blond is also a term used to describe anyone with fair hair, regardless of sex.

The blond girl and fair boy make a lovely blond couple.

(When used as an adjective, blond can refer to both women and men.)

Blonde is a noun that refers to a female with light hair.

The blonde is wearing a very nice dress.

(We know it’s a girl now.)

Blonde is also a term for a female (or females) with light-coloured hair.

The blond boy and blonde girl make an attractive blond pair.

(Blonde or blond can be used to describe females as an adjective.)

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Why Ship is Called She?

There are a few more examples in the English language:

My Maruti car is one of my favourites. My greatest passion is for her (the car).

India is currently popular among her (India’s) neighbours.

I travelled on the Titanic from England to New York; she (the Titanic) is a fantastic ship.

Make a reference to a country or ship using the word ‘she’ if you’re a non-native English speaker and want to impress someone with your linguistic knowledge. “Didn’t the Titanic sink in 1912?” However, you must exercise caution. It might make you appear a tad arrogant. It’s also not particularly neutral.

Some More Examples

The man ripped his brand-new jacket, which he had only bought 12 hours before.

The woman’s blue heels, which she had never worn before, were stolen.

The dog gnawed at the leather leach it despised.


Hopefully you found what you were looking for. This article has provided several words, definitions, and sentences to help you understand the meanings and applications of grammatical gender.

If you want to read more articles like this, go to the Fluent Life website, where professionals are waiting to help you grow exponentially. Experts have written and posted a number of articles to help people who want to learn the English language.

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