- How to Use Definite Articles
- Definite Articles - Form
- Preposition + article
Definite articles (los artículos determinados) are used to accompany specific nouns. Let's learn how to use them!
How to Use Definite Articles
Rule 1. The main function of definite articles is to add specificity to the noun they accompany. They are also used with a noun that has already been mentioned before.
La tienda de la esquina me gusta más.
I like the corner store better.
In this example we are specifying which store I prefer, so must use a definite article.
Te guardé los libros en la mochila.
I put the books in your backpack.
Here, the definite article is used because it is understood that the noun libros has already been mentioned before between the interlocutors.
Rule 2. It is also used with general facts or when speaking of something or someone in a general sense.
El ejercicio es bueno para la salud.
Exercise is good for your health.
Rule 3. Finally, definite articles are is used fixedly with certain vocabulary such as:
The days of the week
El martes vamos a ir al cine.
On Tuesday we are going to the movies.
Los miércoles tomo clases en la universidad.
On Wednesdays I take a class at the university.
Me duele la mano.
My hand hurts.
Me torcí el tobillo.
I twisted my ankle.
When telling the time
Nos vemos a las 3:00 p.m.
See you at 3:00 p.m.
A la 1:30 p.m. salgo de trabajar.
At 1:30 p.m. I leave work.
When saying percentages
El 90% de los estudiantes están felices con la clase.
90% of the students are happy with the class.
Definite Articles - Form
Rule 4. Since articles go with nouns, they must agree in number and gender.
Lava las manzanas antes de comerlas.
Wash apples before eating.
In this example, manzanas is a feminine and plural noun, therefore the article agrees with these characteristics.
El cuaderno de inglés está en la mesa.
The English notebook is on the table.
In this example, the noun cuaderno is singular and masculine, therefore, the article should also be masculine and singular.
Note. It is very common to use the masculine singular determiner article el in front of feminine singular nouns that start with a stressed a or ha to avoid a phenomenon called cacophony (dissonance produced by the inharmonic combination of sounds in a phrase or word.).
The word agua is feminine but is accompanied by a masculine article because it begins with a stressed vowel. In other words, it is more comfortable to say el agua rather than la agua.
More similar examples:
|el hacha||the axe|
|el aula||the classroom|
|el águila||the eagle|
This rule is only limited to the definite article. This change does not occur with other words such as demonstratives (esto, esta, estos, estas).
|este agua||esta agua|
|este águila||esta águila|
Preposition + article
When accompanied by the prepositions a or de, the article el is contracted in the following form:
Necesito información del hotel.
I need hotel information.
Este es ______ libro de español que vamos a usar en la clase.