Gender in English Grammar - Explore Meaning, Definition and Examples

In the English language, nouns and pronouns can be classified into different gender roles. Sometimes, it is just the change in one or two letters in the word, an addition of two or more letters to the noun and in other cases, the masculine and feminine gender are two totally different words. Go through the article to learn the meaning and definition of gender in English grammar. Furthermore, check out the examples to learn the different genders.

Table of Contents

What is Gender in Grammar? – Meaning and Definition

Gender indicates whether a particular noun or pronoun is in the male or female form. Though most nouns in the English language do not have a gender, there are nouns related to people and animals which have different genders. “The gender of a noun, pronoun, or adjective is whether it is masculine, feminine, or neuter. A word’s gender can affect its form and behaviour. In English, only personal pronouns such as ‘she’, reflexive pronouns such as ‘itself’, and possessive determiners such as ‘his’ have gender”, according to the Collins Dictionary.

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the term ‘gender’ is defined as “each of the classes (masculine, feminine, and sometimes neuter) into which nouns, pronouns, and adjectives are divided; the division of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives into these different genders. Different genders may have different endings, etc.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines gender as “a subclass within a grammatical class (such as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (such as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms”.

Examples of Gender in English Grammar

Gender of nouns can be classified as masculine, feminine and the neuter gender. Given below is a table with examples of gender.

Masculine Gender

Feminine Gender

Neuter Gender

Man

Woman

Human

Male

Female

Person

Boy

Girl

Child

Chairman

Chairwoman

Chairperson

Brother

Sister

Sibling

Uncle

Aunt

N/A

Husband

Wife

Spouse

Waiter

Waitress

Server

Actor

Actress

N/A

King

Queen

Ruler

Prince

Princess

N/A

Mother

Father

Parent

Grandmother

Grandfather

Grandparent

Grandson

Granddaughter

Grandchild

Gentleman

Lady

N/A

Lord

Lady

N/A

Son

Daughter

Child

Host

Hostess

N/A

Heir

Heiress

N/A

Count

Countess

N/A

Baron

Baroness

N/A

Wizard

Witch

N/A

Nephew

Niece

N/A

Monk

Nun

N/A

Priest

Priestess

N/A

Steward

Stewardess

N/A

Prophet

Prophetess

N/A

Shepherd

Shepherdess

N/A

Poet

Poetess

N/A

Duke

Duchess

N/A

Founder

Foundress

N/A

Master

Mistress

N/A

Seamster

Seamstress

N/A

Hero

Heroine

N/A

Landlord

Landlady

N/A

Salesman

Saleswoman

Salesperson

Viscount

Viscountess

N/A

Him

Her

Their

He

She

They

Gender in Animals

Rooster/Cock

Hen

Chicken

Buck

Doe

N/A

Ox

Cow

N/A

Horse

Mare

N/A

Drake

Duck

N/A

Gander

Goose

N/A

Lion

Lioness

N/A

Tiger

Tigress

N/A

Stag

Hind

N/A

Fox

Vixen

N/A

Peacock

Peahen

N/A

Stallion

Mare

Horse

Frequently Asked Questions on Gender in English Grammar

What is gender in English grammar?

Gender indicates whether a particular noun or pronoun is in the male or female form. Though most nouns in the English language do not have a gender, there are nouns related to people and animals which have different genders.

What is the definition of gender in grammar?

According to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the term ‘gender’ is defined as “each of the classes (masculine, feminine, and sometimes neuter) into which nouns, pronouns, and adjectives are divided; the division of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives into these different genders. Different genders may have different endings, etc.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines gender as “a subclass within a grammatical class (such as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (such as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms”.

Give some examples of gender in grammar.

Here are a few examples of gender for your reference.

  • Man – woman
  • Boy – girl
  • Chairman – chairwoman
  • Stallion – mare
  • Buck – doe
  • Cock – hen