Wordsmith Wednesday: Dese, dem, and dose damn genders!
Coming up with the correct gender of nouns can drive any student of French fou. Gender even infiltrates a common phrase like “this one,” which is celui-ci if the thing you’re referring to is masculine, say, a woman’s breast. If it’s a beard, which is obviously feminine, it’s celle-ci. Of course, breasts usually come in pairs, so you’d better know that “those” plural masculine breasts are ceux-là, while plural feminine beards are celles-là. This French version of “dem and dose” has at least eight variations to be memorized. Here's a chart for the masochistic (the rest of just point and grunt):
English Masculine Feminine this celui celle these ceux celles
that celui-ci celle-ci
those ceux-là celles-là
In my next life I may study Latin instead -- it's easier.