What Is the Feminine Gender? (with Examples)

by Craig Shrives

Feminine Gender (in Grammar)

Feminine gender is one of three genders in English grammar. The three genders for nouns and pronouns are:
gender in grammar
If the word does not denote something obviously masculine or feminine, then it is a neuter word.

Click on Two Feminine Nouns

Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...
Getting ready...

Feminine Pronouns

In the table below, the singular feminine pronouns are in the shaded row:
GenderPronounPossessive Determiner
(a type of pronoun)
Possessive Pronoun
masculine pronounshe
Example: He is happy.
his
Example: This is his car.
his
Example: This is his.
feminine pronounsshe
Example: She is happy.
her
Example: This is her car.
hers
Example: This is hers.
neuter pronounsit
Example: It is happy.
its
Example: This is its bone.
its
Example: This is its. (rare)

Feminine Nouns

Unless its meaning makes it obviously female (e.g., "girl," "queen," "sow") or male (e.g., "prince," "boar," "policeman"), a noun in English is neuter by default. Here are two noteworthy points related to gender:
  • Large machines. Large machines such as ships and trains, which - by default - are neuter, are sometimes affectionately given a female gender (i.e., referred to as "she" or "her").
    • RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912 after striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. She was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. She was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service.
    • (Large machines are often referred to as "she.")
  • Animals. An animal is referred to as "it." It is only referred to as "she" or "he" when the sex is known.
Read more about gender-specific nouns.

Why Should I Care about Feminine Gender?

Here are two noteworthy issues related to feminine gender.

(Issue 1) Choosing the right version of "blonde/blond."

The word "blond/blonde" changes depending on its gender.

"Blonde" is a noun meaning a fair-haired female.
  • The blonde just passed a package to the vendor. (for a girl)
"Blonde" is also an adjective used to describe a female (or females) with fair hair.
  • The blonde girl is likely to be voted in as the next club president. (for a girl)
"Blond," on the other hand, is a noun meaning a fair-haired male.
  • The blond is looking suspicious. (for a boy)
"Blond" is also an adjective used to describe anybody (regardless of their gender) with fair hair.
  • The blond girl and the blond boy make a nice blond couple.
  • (When it's an adjective, "blond" can be used for all genders.)

(Issue 2) Using gender-neutral pronouns for people who do not identify themselves as either male or female.

Some people identify as non-binary; i.e. they do not identify as male or female. These people might ask you to use "they" (and of course "their," "them," "theirs," "themself") or just their name instead of a pronoun (e.g., "Sarah," "Sarah's," "Sarah's self") when talking about them.

Read more about using non-binary pronouns.
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

What is gender? What are nouns? What are pronouns? What is the masculine gender? What is the neuter gender? What are possessive adjective? What are absolute possessive pronouns? Glossary of grammatical terms