French Language Blog

Using Delicious Spaghetti To Remember The Gender Of French Words Posted by on Apr 4, 2018 in Grammar

Remembering le genre d’un mot (the gender of a word) is one of the hardest parts of learning French. Getting a feel for how un chaise sounds wrong is very hard for non-native speakers.

Image by kaizen.nguyễn on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0,

While there are countless examples les anglophones (English speakers) like myself making mistakes with French words, looking at words that les francophones (French speakers) struggle with offers unique insight into how to better remember les genres des mots.

Par exemple (for example), ask un francophone the following question:

Est-ce qu’on dit le spaghetti ou la spaghetti ?
Do you say the spaghetti or the spaghetti?

They will probably give a confused look when they realize they are not sûr à cent pour cent (one hundred percent sure) which one is correct.

The confusion comes from the fact that most francophones never use le mot outside of its plural form and les articles français (French articles) in their plural form don’t give any information about le genre du mot.

As a reminder, voici les articles français :

Singulier : Un, une, le, la
Pluriel : Des, les

To get the answer to whether or not spaghetti is masculin ou féminin in French, you have to ask ton ami francophone (your French speaking friend) a different question:

Est-ce qu’on dit des spaghettis délicieux ou des spaghettis délicieuse ?
Do you say delicious spaghetti or delicious spaghetti?

Ton ami francophone will quickly realize which one sounds more natural, letting you know le genre du mot.

Des spaghettis délicieux !
Delicious spaghetti!

The trick is even if les articles don’t carry any information about le genre, les adjectifs still have to agree with the noun!

So whenever you are learning des nouveaux mots français, remember them with un adjectif and you’ll never forget le genre!

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. Chris:

    So which is it? Is spaghetti mascukaine or feminine??

    • John Bauer:

      @Chris Merci pour votre commentaire ! The best way to find out would be to ask un ami francophone 😀

      However, vous avez raison (you are right), I should add that it is masculin.

  2. Shauna Job:

    Quelle bonne idée, merci pour cette astuce utile!!

  3. Tim:

    Excellent post, John. Je ne suis pas sûr, mais je crois que c’est “sûr à cent pour cent” au lieu de “percent”.

    • John Bauer:

      @Tim Merci pour votre commentaire Tim ! Vous avez raison ! J’ai corrigé le mot 🙂