Living beings are of either the male or the female sex.
A noun that denotes a male animal is of the masculine gender.
Examples are: boy, lion, hero, peacock, tiger and cock-sparrow
A noun that denotes a female animal is of the feminine gender.
Examples are: girl, lioness, heroine, peahen, tigress, and hen sparrow
A noun that denotes either a male or a female is said to be of the common gender. Examples are: parent, child, baby, student, servant, doctor, teacher, singer, dancer, enemy, friend, cousin and neighbor
A noun that denotes an inanimate object is of the neuter gender. Examples are: book, pen, tree, stone, house and country
How to form nouns in the feminine gender
Some nouns in the feminine gender can be formed from the corresponding nouns in the masculine gender. Here are some common methods used.
By adding the ending –ess
Shepherd – shepherdess
Lion – lioness
Prince – princess (If the word ends in ‘e’, you only have to add ‘ss’.)
Actor – actress (Sometimes you have to drop the vowel before the last letter before adding –ess.)
Tiger – tigress
Duke – duchess (Sometimes you have to change the spelling before adding –ess.)
God – goddess (Sometimes you have to double the last consonant before adding –ess.)
In some cases there is a complete change of form. Examples are given below:
Boy -> girl
Papa -> mama
Nephew -> niece
Bull -> cow
Cock -> hen