French grammar

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French grammar
French is a moderately inflected language. Nouns and most pronouns are inflected for number (singular or plural, though in most nouns the plural is pronounced the same as the singular even if spelled differently); adjectives, for number and gender (masculine or feminine) of their nouns; personal pronouns and a few other pronouns, for person, number, gender, and case; and verbs, for tense, aspect, mood, and the person and number of their subjects. Case is primarily marked using word order and prepositions, while certain verb features are marked using auxiliary verbs. According to the French lexicogrammatical system, French has a rank-scale hierarchy with clause as the top rank, which is followed by group rank, work rank, and morpheme rank. A French clause is made up of groups, groups are made up of words, and lastly, words are made up of morphemes.[85]

French grammar shares several notable features with most other Romance languages, including

-the loss of Latin declensions
-only two grammatical genders
-the development of grammatical articles from Latin demonstratives
-new tenses formed from auxiliaries

Nouns
Every French noun is either masculine or feminine. Because French nouns are not inflected for gender, a noun’s form cannot specify its gender. For nouns regarding the living, their grammatical genders often correspond to that which they refer to. For example, a male teacher is a “enseignant” while a female teacher is a “enseignante.” However, plural nouns that refer to a group that includes both masculine and feminine entities are always masculine. So a group of two male teachers would be “enseignants.” A group of two male teachers and two female teachers would still be “enseignants.” In many situations, and in the case of “enseignant,” both the singular and plural form of a noun are pronounced identically. The article used for singular nouns is different from that used for plural nouns and the article provides a distinguishing factor between the two in speech. For example, the singular “le professeur” or “la professeur(e)” (the male or female teacher, professor) can be distinguished from the plural “les professeurs” because “le,” “la,” and “les” are all pronounced differently. There are some situations where both the feminine and masculine form of a noun are the same and the article provides the only difference. For example, “le dentiste” refers to a male dentist while “la dentiste” refers to a female dentist.

Verbs
Main article: French verbs
Moods and tense-aspect forms
The French language consists of both finite and non-finite moods. The finite moods include the indicative mood (indicatif), the subjunctive mood (subjonctif), the imperative mood, (imperatif), and the conditional mood (conditionnel). The non-finite moods include the infinitive mood (infinitif), the present participle (participe présent), and the past participle (participe passé).

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