- Gender - Form and Use
- Number - Form and Use
A noun is a person, place, or thing. Spanish nouns have gender: they are either masculine or feminine. This phenomenon comes from Latin and can be seen in other Romance languages such as French and Italian.
Alicia es mi hermana.
Alicia is my sister.
Josúe es mi amigo.
Josue is my friend.
They also have number, which makes them plural or singular.
Ellos son mis primos.
They are my cousins.
Las ciudades de Panamá son hermosas.
The cities of Panama are beautiful.
The grammatical gender and number is a fundamental property of Spanish since it is the basis for agreement. This means that both nouns and other parts of speech such as articles, adjectives, and verbs must agree with gender and number as appropriate so that the sentence makes sense.
Gender - Form and Use
Rule 1. Feminine nouns generally end in -a. Feminine nouns in Spanish can refer to women, to the biological sex in animals, or to the feminine grammatical gender of inanimate objects.
La maestra Susana
While this rule applies to most feminine nouns, there are always some exceptions. Below is a list of the most common words that end in a, but are actually masculine.
As you study Spanish, you will encounter the abbreviations m., for masculine nouns, and f., for feminine nouns in dictionaries or forums. This will help you learn the gender of the noun right away.
Rule 2. Masculine nouns generally end in -o. They can also refer to a man, to the biological sex in animals, or to the masculine grammatical gender of inanimate objects.
El maestro Alberto
Note: The cardinal points, months of the year, days of the week, numbers, rivers, lakes, oceans, mountain ranges, and mountains are all masculine.
|El río Nilo||The Nile river|
While this rule applies to most masculine nouns, there are always some exceptions. Below is a list of the most common words that end in o, but are actually feminine.
Note: in the case of animals, there are quite a few exceptions as sometimes the sex of animals is distinguished by completely different names.
This is the case of toro (bull) and vaca (cow). Sometimes, the same name is used for both sexes, and only the word male or female and its corresponding article are added, as in the case of la delfín hembra, el delfín macho (female dolphin, male dolphin).
Number - Form and Use
As mentioned at the beginning, nouns can be singular or plural.
Rule 3. To pluralize a noun ending in a vowel, an s is usually added.
Rule 4. To pluralize a noun ending in a consonant, we generally add es.
Rule 5. Nouns that already end in s are generally not modified when put in the plural form.
These rules are a good basis for you to begin to familiarize yourself with the gender and number of Spanish nouns. As you learn more vocabulary, you will recognize the patterns and exceptions in the language more easily.
Change the following noun into masculine.
niña f. (kid)