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Gender - English Grammer
2623    Dibyendu Banerjee    01/04/2018


In English language, grammatical gender is a category of nouns and pronouns. The gender of a noun or a pronoun determines how it behaves with other words. Gender in English is based on natural gender (i.e. maleness and femaleness) rather than grammar or morphology. However, in many other continental or Asian languages, like French or Spanish, the basic concept of grammatical gender is based on morphology and may apply not only to nouns and pronouns but also to other parts of speech, such as adjectives and verbs. 


English language divides nouns and pronouns into four genders.

Masculine gender - A noun or a pronoun that denotes the male genre is said to be of masculine gender. In other words, masculine gender includes all males. Examples – man, boy, lion, god, bull, he, king, grandfather etc.

Feminine gender - A noun or a pronoun that denotes the female genre is said to be of feminine gender. It includes all females like, woman, girl, lioness, goddess, cow, she, queen, grandmother etc.


Common gender - A noun or a pronoun that can be used for both the male as well as the female genre is said to be of common gender. Nouns and pronouns that belong to this gender are either male or female, but we are not concerned about it. Examples – actor, cousin, parents, student, teacher, worker, baby etc.


Neuter gender - A noun or a pronoun that is used for things which are neither male nor female are said to be of neuter gender. Items included in this category do not possess maleness or femaleness, they are inanimate objects or ideas and are devoid of lives. Examples – book, table, pen, house, childhood, chairmanship etc.

Nowadays some words in the Masculine Gender are used as Common Gender. Examples are – actor, poet, author, governor, priest etc.


People also object to the use of the ending ‘-man’ in words referring to different professions, for example postman, spokesman, barman or chairman. Since women are also likely to be involved in an occupation or activity, these words are being regularly replaced by gender-neutral terms, e.g. postal worker, spokesperson, chairperson, bar tender etc.

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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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