Friday, August 12, 2016



   Gender is distinction according to sex.

 Nouns and pronouns may be of the masculine, the feminine, or the neuter gender.

1.  A noun or pronoun denoting a male being is of the masculine gender.

  EXAMPLES: Joseph, boy, cockerel, buck, footman, butler, brother,   father, uncle, he.

2.  A noun or pronoun denoting a female being is of the feminine gender.

  EXAMPLES: girl, Julia, hen, waitress, maid, doe, spinster, matron,   aunt, squaw, she.

3.  A noun or pronoun denoting a thing without animal life is of the neuter gender.

  EXAMPLES: pencil, light, water, star, book, dust, leaf, it.

A noun or pronoun which is sometimes masculine and sometimes feminine is often said to be of  common gender .

  EXAMPLES: bird, speaker, artist, animal, cat, European, musician,   operator, they.

   A pronoun must be in the same gender as the noun for which it stands or to which it refers.

Each of the following pronouns is limited to a single gender:

  MASCULINE:  he ,  his ,  him .
  FEMININE:   she ,  her ,  hers .
  NEUTER:     it ,  its .

All other pronouns vary in gender.

   Robert  greeted  his  employer. [Masculine.]

  A  mother  passed with  her  child. [Feminine.]

  This  tree  has lost  its  foliage. [Neuter.]

   Who  laughed? [Masculine or feminine.]

  How do  you  do? [Masculine or feminine.]

They  have disappeared. [Masculine, feminine, or neuter.]

  I do not care for  either . [Masculine, feminine, or neuter.]

 A neuter noun may become masculine or feminine by  personification 

  Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
  The blue Mediterranean.--SHELLEY.

  Stern daughter of the Voice of God!

           Nature from her seat
  Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe.--MILTON.

 In speaking of certain objects, such as a ship and the moon, it  is customary to use  she  and  her . In like manner,  he  is used in speaking of the sun and of most animals, without reference to sex, although  it  often designates an insect or other small creature, and even a very young child.

 Who  and  which  are both used in referring to the  lower animals .  Which  is the commoner, but  who  is not infrequent, especially if the animal is thought of as an intelligent being.

  Thus one would say, “The dog  which  is for sale is in that kennel,”   even if one added, “ He  is a collie.” But  which  would never be   used in such a sentence as, “I have a dog  who  loves children.”

  The  gender  of masculine and of feminine nouns may be shown in various ways.

1. The male and the female of many kinds or classes of living beings are denoted by different words. 


  father              mother
  husband         wife
  uncle               aunt
  king             queen
  monk            nun
  wizard          witch
  lord              lady
  horse          mare
  gander        goose
  drake         duck
  cock          hen
  ram           ewe
  bull           cow
  hart           hind
  buck         doe
  fox           vixen[10]

2. Some masculine nouns become feminine by the addition of an ending.


  heir                 heiress
  baron                baroness
  lion                  lioness
  prince              princess
  emperor          empress
  tiger                 tigress
  executor           executrix
  administrator    administratrix
  hero                  heroine
  Joseph              Josephine
  sultan              sultana
  Philip                Philippa

NOTE. The feminine gender is often indicated by the ending  ess .   Frequently the corresponding masculine form ends in  or  or  er :
  as,--actor, actress; governor, governess; waiter, waitress. The   ending  ess  is not so common as formerly. Usage favors  proprietor ,    author ,  editor , etc., even for the feminine (rather than the   harsher forms  proprietress ,  authoress ,  editress ), whenever   there is no special reason for emphasizing the difference of sex.

3. A few feminine words become masculine by the addition of an ending. Thus,-- widow ,  widower ;  bride ,  bridegroom .

4. Gender is sometimes indicated by the ending  man ,  woman ,  maid ,  boy , or  girl .

  EXAMPLES: salesman, saleswoman; foreman, forewoman; laundryman;   milkmaid; cash boy, cash girl.

5. A noun or a pronoun is sometimes prefixed to a noun to indicate gender.

  EXAMPLES: manservant, maidservant; mother bird; cock sparrow, hen   sparrow; boy friend, girl friend; he-wolf, she-wolf.

6. The gender of a noun may be indicated by some accompanying part of speech, usually by a pronoun.

  My  cat  is always washing  his  face.

  The  intruder  shook  her  head.

  I was confronted by a pitiful  creature , haggard and  unshaven .

  NOTE. The variations in form studied under 2 and 3 (above) are often   regarded as inflections. In reality, however, the masculine and the   feminine are different words. Thus,  baroness  is not an inflectional   form of  baron , but a distinct noun, made from  baron  by adding   the ending  ess , precisely as  barony  and  baronage  are made from    baron  by adding the endings  y  and  age . The process is rather   that of  derivation  or noun-formation than that of inflection.


  Number is that property of substantives which shows whether they indicate one person, place, or thing or more than one. 

 There are two numbers,--the singular and the plural. 

 The singular number denotes but one person, place, or thing. The plural number denotes more than one person, place, or thing. 

  Most nouns form the plural number by adding  s  or  es  to the singular. 

  EXAMPLES: mat, mats; wave, waves; problem, problems; bough, boughs;   John, Johns; nurse, nurses; tense, tenses; bench, benches; dish,   dishes; class, classes; fox, foxes.


1. If the singular ends in  s ,  x ,  z ,  ch , or  sh , the plural ending is  es .

  EXAMPLES: loss, losses; box, boxes; buzz, buzzes; match, matches;   rush, rushes.

2. Many nouns ending in  o  preceded by a consonant also take the ending  es  in the plural.

  EXAMPLES: hero, heroes; cargo, cargoes; potato, potatoes; motto,   mottoes; buffalo, buffaloes; mosquito, mosquitoes.

 3 . Nouns ending in  o  preceded by a vowel form their plural in  s : as,-- cameo ,  cameos ;  folio ,  folios .

4. The following nouns ending in  o  preceded by a consonant also form their plural in  s :--


  In some nouns the addition of the plural ending alters the spelling and even the sound of the singular form.

1. Nouns ending in  y  preceded by a consonant change  y  to  i  and add  es  in the plural.

  EXAMPLES: sky, skies; fly, flies; country, countries; berry, berries.   (Contrast: valley, valleys; chimney, chimneys; monkey, monkeys; boy,
  boys; day, days.)

Most proper names ending in  y , however, take the plural in  s .

  EXAMPLES: Mary, Marys; Murphy, Murphys; Daly, Dalys; Rowley, Rowleys;   May, Mays.

2. Some nouns ending in  f  or  fe , change the  f  to  v  and add  es  or  s .

EXAMPLES: wharf, wharves; wife, wives; shelf, shelves; wolf, wolves;   thief, thieves; knife, knives; half, halves; calf, calves; life,
  lives; self, selves; sheaf, sheaves; loaf, loaves; leaf, leaves; elf,   elves; beef, beeves.

  A few nouns form their plural in  en .

  These are: ox, oxen; brother, brethren ( or  brothers); child,   children.

  NOTE. Ancient or poetical plurals belonging to this class are:  eyne    (for  eyen , from  eye ),  kine  (cows),  shoon  (shoes),  hosen 

.  A few nouns form their plural by a  change of vowel .

  These are: man, men; woman, women; merman, mermen; foot, feet; tooth,   teeth; goose, geese; mouse, mice; louse, lice. Also compound words   ending in  man  or  woman , such as fireman, firemen; saleswoman,   saleswomen; Dutchman, Dutchmen.

  NOTE.  German ,  Mussulman ,  Ottoman ,  dragoman ,  firman , and    talisman , which are not compounds of  man , form their plurals
  regularly: as,-- Germans ,  Mussulmans .  Norman  also forms its   plural in  s .

   A few nouns have the same form in both singular and plural.

  EXAMPLES: deer, sheep, heathen, Japanese, Portuguese, Iroquois.

  NOTE. This class was larger in older English than at present.   It included, for example,  year , which in Shakspere has two   plurals:--“six thousand  years ,” “twelve  year  since.”

 A few nouns have two plurals, but usually with some difference in meaning.


  brother    { brothers (relatives)              { brethren (members of the same society)

  horse      { horses (animals)              { horse (cavalry)

  foot       { feet (parts of the body)              { foot (infantry)

  sail       { sails (on vessels)              { sail (vessels in a fleet)

  head       { heads (in usual sense)              { head (of cattle)

  fish       { fishes (individually)              { fish (collectively)

  penny      { pennies (single coins)              { pence (collectively)

  cloth      { cloths (pieces of cloth)              { clothes (garments)

  die        { dies (for stamping)              { dice (for gaming)

  The  pennies  were arranged in neat piles.

  English money is reckoned in pounds, shillings, and  pence .

   When  compound nouns  are made plural, the last part usually takes the plural form; less often the first part; rarely both parts.

  EXAMPLES: spoonful, spoonfuls; bathhouse, bathhouses; forget-me-not,   forget-me-nots; editor-in-chief, editors-in-chief; maid-of-honor,
  maids-of-honor; gentleman usher, gentlemen ushers; Knight Templar,   Knights Templars; Lord Justice, Lords Justices; manservant,

.  Letters of the alphabet, figures, signs used in writing, and words regarded merely as words take  ’s  in the plural.

 “Embarrassed” is spelled with two  r’s  and two  s’s .

  Your  3’s  look like  8’s .

  Tell the printer to change the §’s to ¶’s.

  Don’t interrupt me with your  but’s !

  Foreign nouns in English sometimes retain their foreign plurals; but many have an English plural also.

Some of the commonest are included in the following list:[12]

  SINGULAR               PLURAL

  alumna (feminine)      alumnæ
  alumnus (masculine)    alumni
  amanuensis             amanuenses
  analysis               analyses
  animalculum            animalcula[13]
  antithesis             antitheses
  appendix             { appendices
                       { appendixes
  axis                   axes
  bacillus               bacilli
  bacterium              bacteria
  bandit               { banditti
                       { bandits
  basis                  bases
  beau                 { beaux
                       { beaus
  candelabrum            candelabra
  cumulus                cumuli
  cherub               { cherubim
                       { cherubs
  crisis                 crises
  curriculum             curricula
  datum                  data
  ellipsis               ellipses
  erratum                errata
  formula              { formulæ
                       { formulas
  genius               { genii
                       { geniuses
  genus                  genera
  gymnasium            { gymnasia
                       { gymnasiums
  hippopotamus           hippopotami
  hypothesis             hypotheses
  larva                  larvæ
  memorandum           { memoranda
                       { memorandums
  nebula                 nebulæ
  oasis                  oases
  parenthesis            parentheses
  phenomenon             phenomena
  radius                 radii
  seraph               { seraphim
                       { seraphs
  species                species
  stratum                strata
  synopsis               synopses
  tableau                tableaux
  tempo                  tempi
  terminus               termini
  thesis                 theses
  trousseau              trousseaux
  vertebra               vertebræ

The two plurals sometimes differ in meaning: as,--

  Michael Angelo and Raphael were  geniuses .

 Spirits are sometimes called  genii .

  This book has two  indices .

  The printer uses signs called  indexes .

 When a  proper name  with the title  Mr. ,  Mrs. ,  Miss , or  Master , is put into the plural, the rules are as follows:--

1. The plural of  Mr.  is  Messrs.  (pronounced  Messers [14]). The name remains in the singular. Thus,--

   Mr. Jackson , plural  Messrs.  (or the  Messrs. )  Jackson .

2.  Mrs.  has no plural. The name itself takes the plural form. Thus,--

   Mrs. Jackson , plural  the Mrs. Jacksons .

3. In the case of  Miss , sometimes the title is put into the plural, sometimes the name. Thus,--

   Miss Jackson , plural  the Misses Jackson  or  the Miss Jacksons .

  The latter expression is somewhat informal. Accordingly, it would not   be used in a formal invitation or reply, or in addressing a letter.

4. The plural of  Master  is  Masters . The name remains in the singular. Thus,--

   Master Jackson , plural  the Masters Jackson .

  Other titles usually remain in the singular, the name taking the   plural form: as,-- the two General Follansbys . But when two or more
  names follow, the title becomes plural: as,-- Generals Rolfe and    Johnson .

  Some nouns, on account of their meaning, are seldom or never used in the plural.

  Such are many names of qualities (as  cheerfulness ,  mirth ), of   sciences (as  chemistry [15]), of forces (as  gravitation ).

Many nouns, commonly used in the singular only, may take a plural in some special sense. Thus,--

  earth (the globe)     earths (kinds of soil)

 ice (frozen water)    ices (food)
  tin (a metal)         tins (tin dishes or cans)
  nickel (a metal)      nickels (coins)

  Some nouns are used in the plural only.

  Such are: annals, athletics, billiards, dregs, eaves, entrails, lees,   nuptials, oats, obsequies, pincers, proceeds, riches, scissors,
  shears, suds, tweezers, tongs, trousers, victuals, vitals;    and (in certain special senses)    ashes, goods, links, scales, spectacles, stocks.

.  A few nouns are plural in form, but singular in meaning.

  Such are: gallows, news, measles, mumps, small pox (for  small   pocks ), politics, and some names of sciences (as, civics, economics,
  ethics, mathematics, physics, optics).

  NOTE. These nouns were formerly plural in sense as well as in form.    News , for example, originally meant “new things.” Shakspere uses it
  both as a singular and as a plural. Thus,--“ This news  was brought   to Richard” ( King John , v. 3. 12); “But wherefore do I tell  these
  news  to thee?” ( 1 Henry IV , iii. 2. 121). In a few words modern   usage varies. The following nouns are sometimes singular, sometimes
  plural:  alms ,  amends ,  bellows ,  means ,  pains  (in the sense   of “effort”),  tidings .

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