Word Confusion: Chargé d’affaires vs Chargée d’affaires

Posted May 1, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 13 July 2017

Oui, it’s one of those masculine/feminine differentiations the French are so keen on. Per usual, add an extra e on the end of chargé to indicate the feminine.

I figured the chargé d’affaires word confusion might as well follow the attaché confusion since they are so similar in definition and gender differentiation.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Chargé d’affaires Chargée d’affaires
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Talin Meets with French Foreign Minister Fabious” is courtesy of U.S. Department of State from United States and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Mark Taplin and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meet with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, France, on February 19, 2014.

“Astrid Versto, CTBT Intensive Policy Course” is courtesy of the Official CTBTO Photostream [Flickr: CTBT Intensive Policy Course; under the CC-BY-2.0 license, via Wikimedia Commons

Astrid Versto, Chargée d’Affaires Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Norway delivers welcoming remarks to the course participants.

Part of Grammar:
Plural for the noun: chargés d’affaires
Plural for the noun: chargées d’affaires

A male diplomatic official who temporarily takes the place of an ambassador

  • State’s diplomatic representative in a minor country

A female diplomatic official who temporarily takes the place of an ambassador

  • State’s diplomatic representative in a minor country
He is the chargé d’affaires for Ruritania. She is the chargée d’affaires for Ruritania.
History of the Word:
Mid-18th century from the French meaning a person in charge of affairs or in charge of business.

You may want to explore other masculine-feminine word confusions from the French such as “Fiancé versus Fiancée“, “Blond versus Blonde (which includes Brunet vs Brunette)”, “Attach vs Attaché vs Attachée“, “Cher, Chéri versus Chère, Chérie“, “Confidant vs Confidante vs Confident“, or “Protégé versus Protégée“.

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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Pinterest Photo Credits

Inauguration in the Presence of the Minister of National Education of Madagascar, the Japanese Chargé d’Affaires Mr. Takanari Kakuda and the Principal of Nanisan High School is Nanisana’s own work under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license and Virginia M. Blaser, the Chargée d’Affaires to the Republic of Uganda, was taken by U.S. Mission Uganda under the CC BY 2.0 license; both are via Wikimedia Commons.

2 responses to “Word Confusion: Chargé d’affaires vs Chargée d’affaires

  1. I have a great friend in France whose name is Frederique, she is a most successful archeologist and anthropologist and has for many years held impressive posts. Before she was as well known she often received letters addressed Cher monsieur… The masculine of Frederique is Frederic but they were so blinded by expecting the knowledge and success to be male… FUN POST! Do look just do not comment as often !