If I asked to buy apples from behind a counter and the seller said "How many?", would I reply un, since that is the word for one, or would I reply une, since the noun is feminine? I believe the answer is un, but I suddenly wasn't certain.

  • dimitris already gave the correct answer, but let me clarify: un and une are both "the word for one". Like how both chat and chatte are "the word for cat". – Najib Idrissi Apr 14 '18 at 12:27
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    If you were counting apples aloud, would you count "Une, deux, trois..." ? – temporary_user_name Apr 14 '18 at 14:06
  • @Aerovistae I think in the case of enumeration both variations are acceptable. Un, deux, trois... ou Une, deux, trois... Pomme is a feminine noun. I don't see any difference with, for instance, étudiantes. – dimitris Apr 14 '18 at 14:12
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    @Aerovistae Yes, I probably would. – Najib Idrissi Apr 14 '18 at 14:35

I think one should use une in this context. E.g,

-- Combien ?

-- J'en voudrais une.

Une is the feminine form of un and agrees in gender with the nom it qualifies.

Une maison. Vingt et une maisons.

The remaining cardinal numerals adjectives are invariable for gender.

Cardinal numbers are used to denote the day of the month, the year, the title of the king (except the first see below), the page.

They may also denote acts, scenes, volumes and chapters other than the first (see below).

page un(e), Henri Quatre, chapitre treize, scène vingt et un, etc.

In all the cases above un (as well as vingt and cent) is invariable.

The ordinal number premier is used to denote the first day of the month, the first of a series of kings, emperors and the like of that name, and the first act, scene, chapter, etc.

Le premier mars. François Premier. Chapitre premier. Acte premier. Scène première.

  • Note that for kings (and emperors, popes and the likes) "titles", the cardinal un is never used and replaced by the ordinal premier. – jlliagre Apr 15 '18 at 21:56
  • @jlliagre Thanks. May be it was not clear, but my reply contains the phrase: "Cardinal numbers are used to denote the day of the month, the year, the title of the king, the page, etc. (apart from premier=first)." I should have written it in a better way:-)! – dimitris Apr 16 '18 at 7:22
  • For the first of their kinds, ordinals are only used for kings (François premier, Élisabeth première) and days of month (le premier janvier). We say page un or page une, page deux..., and l'année zéro, l'an un, l'an trois... – jlliagre Apr 16 '18 at 7:47
  • Ooops! Maintenant j'ai compris:-)! Désolé. Je vais corriger. – dimitris Apr 16 '18 at 7:49

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