Gender of a noun means its state of being male or female or being neither.
- The man standing near the car is its driver.
- A scorpion stung the little boy.
- Where is your mother?
- He was as steady as a rock even in times of trouble.
- She has a complexion as white as milk.
- The ball rolled into a pool of water.
- Sparrows are not seen around anymore.
- Do not touch the sword. It is very sharp.
- Respect your teacher as you would respect your parents.
The highlighted words (man, car, driver, scorpion, boy, mother, he, rock, she, milk, ball, pool of water, sparrows, sword, it, teacher and parents) in the above sentences are either nouns or pronouns.
Of these, man, boy and he indicate males; mother and she indicate females; driver, scorpion, sparrows, teacher and parents are words common for both sexes; and car, rock, milk, ball, pool of water, sword and it indicate non-living things. Here, these broad divisions — males, females, common sex and non-living things — indicate separate gender categories.
The above discussion brings forth four different genders (or categories based on sex) among nouns and pronouns: masculine, feminine, common, and neuter.
1. Masculine Gender
The names of male animals or persons are said to be of the Masculine Gender.
Example: man, boy, lion, hero, king, father, servant etc.
2. Feminine Gender
The names of female animals or persons are said to be of the Feminine Gender.
Example: woman, girl, lioness, maid, queen, mother, etc.
3. Common Gender
The name, of things that indicate either the masculine or the feminine are said to be of the Common Gender.
Example: baby, child, cousin, servant, parent, friend, pupil, person, student, orphan, monarch, relation, teacher, deer, sheep, calf, neighbour.
4. Neuter Gender
The names of things that are neither male nor female (i.e., things without life) are said to be of the Neuter Gender.
Example: book, table, chair, tree, pen, stone.