Nouns and Gender in Spanish

Nouns and Gender in Spanish

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A noun is a word that describes a person, place, thing, or idea.

Person: Richard, Boy, Firefighter

Place: School, Supermarket, Buenos Aires

Thing: Apple, toothbrush ,Guitar

Idea: Freedom, Gratitude, Happiness

In Spanish, all nouns are either masculine or feminine.

MasculineFeminine
el niño (son)la niña (daughter)
el supermercado (supermarket)la escuela (school)
el cepillo (brush)la manzana (apple)
El enojo (anger)la felicidad (happiness)
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In English, living things usually have different names for male and female beings, however, in Spanish they can be identified based on the definite article “el” or “la” before the word, and the ending.

MasculineFeminine
manwoman
actoractress
LionLioness
Spanish (Masc / Fem)English (Masc / Fem)
el perromale dog
la perrafemale dog
el tíouncle
la tíaaunt
el hijoson
la hijadaughter
el abuelograndfather
la abuelagranmother

In Spanish, feminine gendered nouns start with the definite article “la” and masculine gendered nouns start with the definite article “el”. Additionally, you can usually tell the gender of the noun based on the ending of the word. Generally, masculine nouns end in “o” and feminine nouns end in “a”, however, there are exceptions.

MasculineFeminine
gatogata
perroperra
niñoniña
tiotía
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It is impossible to predict the gender of a noun if it is not a living being.

Try to guess whether the nouns below are masculine or feminine:

Masculine or feminine?

school

apartment

person

wall

In the case that the noun is not a living thing, it is crucial to learn the definite article. There are several reasons for this:

  • Because you cannot guess the gender of most nouns.
  • Because not every noun that ends in -o is masculine, and not every noun that ends in -a is feminine.
  • Because many nouns end in letters other than o or a.

Person: Richard, Boy, Firefighter

Place: School, Supermarket, Buenos Aires

Thing: Apple, toothbrush ,Guitar

Idea: Freedom, Gratitude, Happiness

In Spanish, all nouns are either masculine or feminine.

MasculineFeminine
el niño (son)la niña (daughter)
el supermercado (supermarket)la escuela (school)
el cepillo (brush)la manzana (apple)
El enojo (anger)la felicidad (happiness)
Online Spanish Courses

In English, living things usually have different names for male and female beings, however, in Spanish they can be identified based on the definite article “el” or “la” before the word, and the ending.

MasculineFeminine
manwoman
actoractress
LionLioness
Spanish (Masc / Fem)English (Masc / Fem)
el perromale dog
la perrafemale dog
el tíouncle
la tíaaunt
el hijoson
la hijadaughter
el abuelograndfather
la abuelagranmother
Clases de ingles

In Spanish, feminine gendered nouns start with the definite article “la” and masculine gendered nouns start with the definite article “el”. Additionally, you can usually tell the gender of the noun based on the ending of the word. Generally, masculine nouns end in “o” and feminine nouns end in “a”, however, there are exceptions.

MasculineFeminine
gatogata
perroperra
niñoniña
tiotía

It is impossible to predict the gender of a noun if it is not a living being.

Try to guess whether the nouns below are masculine or feminine:

Masculine or feminine?

school

apartment

person

wall

In the case that the noun is not a living thing, it is crucial to learn the definite article. There are several reasons for this:

  • Because you cannot guess the gender of most nouns.
  • Because not every noun that ends in -o is masculine, and not every noun that ends in -a is feminine.
  • Because many nouns end in letters other than o or a.

Masculine nouns that end in a consonant often have a matching feminine form that ends in -a.

MasculinoFemenino
el directorla directora
el señorla señora

Some nouns that refer to a person or a profession use the same form for both masculine and feminine. These nouns indicate gender by the article.

MasculinoFemenino
el recepcionistala recepcionista
el artistala artista

Nouns that end in -sión, -ción, -tad, -tud, are feminine.

la revisión

la comisión

la conversación

la facultad

la dificultad

la libertad

la completitud

la esclavitud

Some nouns that end in -a are masculine.

el problema

el drama

el idioma

el sistema

el mapa

A lot of nouns that end in -ma are masculine, so you can use this as a guide if you are unsure. However, as always, there are exceptions. Some nouns that end in -ma, for example, la cama, are feminine. A few nouns that end in -o are feminine. la disco, la foto.

Here is a small review of what we have learned so far:

  • A lot of nouns that talk about a living thing have both feminine and masculine forms.
  • You can tell the gender of most nouns based on their ending, however, there are always exceptions.
  • Masculine nouns that end in a consonant usually have a matching feminine noun.
  • Some nouns that refer to people use the same form for both masculine and feminine. These nouns indicate gender by the definite article (el or la).
  • Nouns that end in -sión, -ción, -dad, -tad, -tud are feminine.
  • You can always be sure of the gender by learning the definite article.

For more information about Spanish Grammar check this blog:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_gender