The gender of nouns: Spanish grammar (A1)

The gender of nouns in Spanish

There is not always possible to guess what is the gender of nouns in Spanish. This is, actually, one of the biggest challenges that students of Spanish as a foreign language have, but here we are going to give you some tips to help you.

Learn the gender of nouns in Spanish

Notice that. although it is seldom possible to predict with certainty whether a given Spanish noun is of masculine or feminine gender, Spanish has numerous guidelines that can usually be followed. The most well-known rule or guideline is that nouns ending in –o are masculine and those ending in –a are feminine,

El libro (book)                  La casa (house)

El cuadro (painting)          La mesa (table)

Nevertheless, there are numerous exceptions to this gender rule, especially for those ending in –a (Many of them are listed below), and words ending in any other letter can be either masculine or feminine,  so the best advice is that you learn every new word along with its gender by using the articles, for instant:

El árbol (tree)                 El coche (car)

El lápiz (pencil)               La mano (hand)

Anyway, here you have some basic but useful rules.

Spanish gende rules

1. Nouns ending in certain suffixes are usually feminine. They include –ción (usually the equivalent of “-tion”), sión, -ía (usually equivalent of “-y”, although not in the diminutive sense), -za, –dad (often used like “-ty”) and –tis is (“-it is).

La nación (nation)                     La felicidad (happiness)

La ocasión (occasion)                La caridad (charity)

La economía (economy)            La meningitis (meningitis)

La pobreza (poverty)

2. Nouns of greek origin ending in –ma are usually masculine.

El problema (problem)                  El poema (poem)

El drama (drama)                         El tema (subject)

3. Nouns ending in an accented vowel are usually masculine.

El sofá (sofa)                                El tabú (taboo)

El chalé (detached house)           El rubí (ruby)

4. Nouns with certain endings are usually masculine. These include –aje (usually the equivalent of “-age”), -ambre and –or. An exception is la flor (flower).

El mensaje (message)       El viaje (trip)

El hambre (hunger)           El calambre (cramp)

El calor (heat)                    El dolor (pain)

5. Infinitives used as nouns are masculine.

El fumar (smoking)           El cantar (singing)

El viajar (travelling)          El escuchar (listening)

6. Months and days of the week are masculine

Enero es frío (January is cold)    El lunes (Monday)

7.  Letters are feminine while numbers are masculine

La d (d)                  El 7 (seven)

Learning the gender of the nouns is quite important because adjectives, articles, and demonstratives have to agree with this gender:

El coche es rojo (the car is red).

Estas flores son bonitas (these flowers are beautiful).

Learn more about Spanish adjectives


Practice the Spanish gender of nouns

Now you can practice what you have learned with the quizzes below and remember to contact your tutor with any question you have about the gender of nouns or to ask for more homework. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

Please, leave us a message, if you want we prepare more activities about this topic. Thanks fore help us to improve.

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