Last Saturday around midday, Kathryn and I were at the zoo here in Montpellier, and we found ourselves looking at the giraffes next to a French couple and their young children.
I overheard the father saying to his children, “Les girafes sont beaux!”
As soon as the words finished leaving his mouth, the mother corrected him, “Belles.”
“Hein?” he grunted.
“C’est une girafe,” she insisted.
“Eh, ouais,” he said, now recognizing his grammatical error. “Les girafes sont belles.”
If, like me, you’re an English speaker who’s ever struggled to remember the grammatical gender of French nouns, take heart! Some of the French struggle too.