At this point in your Spanish learning journey, you already know that Spanish words have two grammatical genders, feminine and masculine. However, did you know that some words can take both genders and mean completely different things? Let's learn more about that in this grammatical point.
¿Me puedes trajer naranjas del naranjo?
Can you bring me oranges from the orange tree?
Words That Change Meaning
We will show you a list of commonly used words that take both genders and what they mean when they are feminine or masculine.
Naranja and naranjo
Rule 1. As you may have guessed from the example, when naranja is used in its feminine form, it refers to the fruit or even the color, but when it is used in its masculine form, it refers to the orange tree.
El naranjo no dio muchas naranjas este año.
The orange tree did not give many oranges this year.
El orden and la orden
Rule 2. When orden is used in its feminine form, it refers to an order or mandate given by a person. When used in its masculine form, it would be the equivalent of organization or calmness.
La orden que emitió el juez ya se procesó.
The order issued by the judge has already been processed.
Los profesores se deberían de encargar del orden de los estudiantes.
Teachers should be responsible for the organization of the students.
El coma and la coma
Rule 3. When coma is used in its feminine form, it refers to the punctuation mark. When it is used in its masculine form, it refers to the state of being unconscious and having minimal brain activity.
La coma es uno de los signos de puntuaciación más importantes.
The comma is one of the most important punctuation marks.
Desafortundamente el paciente no ha despertado de el coma.
Unfortunately, the patient has not woken from the coma.
El cura and la cura
Rule 4. The feminine form of this word is related to healing, to a cure. The masculine form refers to a priest.
Si tienes dolor moral ve con un cura, pero si te duele algo físico, ve con un doctor para que te de una cura.
If you have moral pain, go to a priest, but if you have physical pain, go to a doctor for a cure.
El cometa and la cometa
Rule 5. El cometa refers to a small body orbiting the Sun, but la cometa refers to the toy that kids fly in the sky attached to a string.
Mi hijo siempre ha soñado con volar una cometa.
My son has always dreamed of flying a kite.
Una de mis metas en la vida es ver un cometa pasar.
One of my goals in life is to see a comet pass by.
El frente and la frente
Rule 6. Finally, la frente refers to the part of the face, while el frente refers to the front line in a war or battle.
Mi mayor inseguridad siempre ha sido tener la frente grande.
My biggest insecurity has always been having a big forehead.
La vida era muy dura en el frente.
Life was very hard at the front.
Una de mis metas este año es plantar ______ para tener un árbol frutal en la casa.