Romanian nouns - gender and number
A Romanian noun can have one of the three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter, and can be either singular or plural.
The neuter is the third gender however it uses the forms of the masculine singular and feminine plural.
This lesson will guide you on how to find out the gender of a noun, and it will also help you understand the rules for building the plural.
Let’s have a look at a few examples:
"O" is the indefinite article that accompanies the singular feminine Romanian nouns, while "un" is used in front of masculine Romanian singular nouns. We will write a dedicated lesson on Romanian articles.
How to find out the gender of a Romanian noun?
There are many rules on how to determine which gender a Romanian noun belongs to. We’ll present here the easy rules, for all the other cases you are advised to learn the gender by heart from the dictionary.
A few very easy rules to remember are the following ones:
We recommend that you learn the gender of Romanian nouns by heart, out of a dictionary or while reading/studying Romanian.
If you are interested in knowing all the intricacies of the many rules determining the gender of a Romanian noun, or how to decline the plural then please see our next page.
English compared to Romanian
English does not use grammatical gender for its nouns, but uses the natural gender such as: "wife", "husband", "dear", "stag". Romanian nouns follow the natural gender rule : "soţ" (husband) being masculine, and "soţie" (wife) feminine noun.
However all other Romanian nouns have a gender as opposed to English where there is no natural gender, or it cannot be inferred from the noun.
For example, in English "a lamp" is neither feminine, nor masculine, whereas in Romanian, "lampă" is feminine and follows the rules of feminine nouns.
Moreover English does not make a gender distinction in some cases: e.g. "a teacher" can be a male or a female teacher. Romanian has two different nouns one for a male teacher: "profesor" and another one for a female teacher: "profesoară". In Romanian there are also a few nouns that can refer to both female and masculine genders, but they are not part of the usual vocabulary and they refer mostly to non-human beings e.g. gândac (bug), elefant (elephant).