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Elena Galkina » SPANISH NOUN SYSTEM

SPANISH NOUN SYSTEM

SPANISH NOUN SYSTEM

Masculine and feminine nouns

 

 

One of the hardest things for people to get used to when learning Spanish is the idea that nouns (people, places, animals, things, ideas, and feelings) have a grammatical gender (male, female). There is always a question of "How can a table be feminine? and "How can a  book be masculine?" This doesn’t mean that the table or the book is physically feminine or masculine, but in a grammatical sense, the ending is.
Why is gender so important in Spanish? Well, if a noun is masculine, then its descriptive adjectives and articles will also need to be masculine. In order to describe something accurately, an adjective must match a noun in both gender and number. For example:

 

  • La manzana es roja. (The apple is red.)
  • El plátano es amarillo. (The banana is yellow.)

 

Knowing the gender of a noun allows you to describe it using adjectives correctly and also use the correct articles when you have to. By far, the best way to determine the gender of a noun is to look it up in a dictionary. If you don't have a dictionary available, there are a few general observations you can use below, but these are not rules! They are just clues for when you don't have a dictionary. So let’s talk about some general ways to recognize if a noun is masculine or feminine.

 

Masculine Nouns

Most masculine nouns end in -o. Ending in an -o can indicate that a person or animal is male, or just an object, idea, etc. that is grammatically masculine.

Common Masculine Noun that End in -O

  • el cartero (mailman/postman)
  • el niño (child/son)
  • el tío (uncle)
  • el teatro (theater)
  • el dormitorio (bedroom)

Feminine Nouns

Most feminine nouns end in -a. Ending in an -a indicates that a person or animal is feminine or that an object, idea, etc. is grammatically feminine.

Common Feminine Nouns that End in -A

  • la enfermera (nurse)
  • la profesora (teacher)
  • la hija (daughter)
  • la rosa (rose)
  • la guitarra (guitar)
  • la piscina (pool)
 
Please check the noun endings in the table below.