Identifying the gender in Spanish of the nouns 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 to know if one noun is feminine or masculine.
Identify a noun gender in Spanish
Notice that. although it is seldom possible to predict with certainty whether a given Spanish noun is of the 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 a definite articles, for example:
El árbol (tree) El coche (car)
El lápiz (pencil) La mano (hand)
Anyway, here you have some basic but useful rules:
Spanish gender 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 essential 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).
You can learn more about Spanish adjectives by clicking on the link.
Feminine and Masculine, this is the questions
Now you can practice what you have learned with the quizzes below, and remember to contact your tutor with any question you have about gender in Spanish or to ask for more homework. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?