In the Spanish sentences Él es un buen actor "He is a good actor" and Ella es una buena actriz "She is a good actress", almost every word changes to match the gender of the subject. The noun actor inflects by replacing the masculine suffix -or with the feminine suffix -riz, the personal pronoun él "he" changes to ella "she", and the feminine suffix -a is added to the article (un → una) and to the adjective (buen → buena). Only the verb remains unchanged.
The following "highly contrived" Old English sentence serves as an example of gender agreement.
|Old English||Seo brade lind wæs tilu and ic hire lufode.|
|Modern English gloss||That broad shield was good and I her loved.|
|Modern English translation||That broad shield was good and I loved it.|
The word hire "her" refers to lind "shield". Since this noun was grammatically feminine, the adjectives brade "broad" and tilu "good", as well as the pronouns seo "the/that" and hire "her", which referred to lind, must also appear in their feminine forms. Old English had three genders, masculine, feminine and neuter, but gender inflections were greatly simplified by sound changes, and then completely lost (as well as number inflections, to a lesser extent).
In modern English, by contrast, the noun "shield" takes the neuter pronoun "it", since it designates a genderless object. In a sense, the neuter gender has grown to encompass most nouns, including many that were masculine or feminine in Old English. If one were to replace the phrase "broad shield" with "brave man" or "brave woman", the only change to the rest of the sentence would be in the pronoun at the end, which would become "him" or "her", respectively.
Read more about this topic: Grammatical Gender
Other articles related to "gender agreement, gender":
... In the species group gender agreement applies ... (or the third part, the subspecific name) is adjectival in nature, its ending must agree in gender with the name of the genus ... name africanus is an adjective, and its ending follows the gender of the generic name ...
Famous quotes containing the words agreement and/or gender:
“The methodological advice to interpret in a way that optimizes agreement should not be conceived as resting on a charitable assumption about human intelligence that might turn out to be false. If we cannot find a way to interpret the utterances and other behaviour of a creature as revealing a set of beliefs largely consistent and true by our standards, we have no reason to count that creature as rational, as having beliefs, or as saying anything.”
—Donald Davidson (b. 1917)
“But there, where I have garnered up my heart,
Where either I must live or bear no life;
The fountain from the which my current runs
Or else dries up: to be discarded thence,
Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
To knot and gender in!”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)