The gender of Spanish nouns: masculine and feminine
The general rule states that all Spanish nouns are masculine or feminine.
Words ending in -o are generally masculine, while ones ending in -a are generally feminine. The articles which accompany a masculine noun are el (definite) / uno (indefinite), while the feminine ones are la (definite) / una (indefinite).
|Masculine nouns ending in -o||Feminine nouns ending in -a|
- 1.General rules to recognize masculine nouns
- 1.1.Masculine nouns ending in -o
- 1.2.Masculine nouns ending in -a (-ía; -ma; -ama; -ema; -oma)
- 1.3.Masculine nouns ending in -ambre and -aje
- 1.4.Masculine nouns ending in -or and -án
- 2.Masculine group of nouns
- 3.General rules to recognize feminine nouns
- 3.1.Feminine nouns ending in -a
- 3.2.Feminine nouns ending in -o
- 3.3.Feminine nouns ending in -dad and -tad
- 3.4.Feminine nouns ending in -ción and -sión
- 3.5.Feminine nouns ending in -ie / -eza /-sis / -itis
- 3.6.Feminine nouns ending in -tud / -umbre
- 4.Other endings for masculine and feminine nouns
- 5.Other masculine and feminine group of nouns
General rules to recognize masculine nouns
Usually words with the following endings are masculine:
- -a (-ía; -ma; -ama; -ema; -oma);
- -ambre / -aje;
- ón / -án.
1. Masculine nouns ending in -o
- El bolígrafo (pen)
- El zapato (shoe)
Besides, nouns that designate male beings generally end in -o.
- El cartero (mailman)
- El hermano (brother)
However, nouns that designate male beings may have other endings:
- El profesor (male professor)
- El hombre (man)
2. Masculine nouns ending in -a (-ía; -ma; -ama; -ema; -oma)
Although nouns ending in -a are mostly feminine, some of them are masculine.
Note that nouns ending in -ía, -ma, -ama, -ema, -oma have similar spelling and meaning in both English and Spanish.
El día (day)
El clima (weather, climate)
El programa (programme)
El problema (problem)
El idioma (language)
3. Masculine nouns ending in -ambre and -aje
|-ambre||El hambre (hunger)|
|-aje||El lenguaje (language)|
4. Masculine nouns ending in -or and -án
|-or||El amor (love)|
|-án||El refrán (proverb)|
Masculine group of nouns
Certain groups of nouns are masculine.
|Noun groups||Examples||English translation|
|Days of weeks / months of the year||
El lunes me voy a la universidad.
Éste ha sido un octubre lleno de sorpresas.
On Monday I'm going to university.
This has been an October full of surprises.
|Infinitives as nouns||El hacer ejercicio es muy recomendable.||Working out is advisable.|
|Rivers / seas / oceans||El río Támesis está en Londres.||The Thames River is in London.|
Fruits are generally feminine
General rules to recognize feminine nouns
Usually words with the following endings are feminine:
- -dad / -tad;
- -ción / sión;
- -ie / -eza /-sis / -itis;
- -tud / -umbre.
1. Feminine nouns ending in -a
- La rosa (rose)
- La guitarra (guitar)
Besides, nouns which designate female beings generally end in -a.
- La maestra (female teacher)
- La doctora (female doctor)
However, nouns that designate female beings may have other endings:
La mujer (woman)
2. Feminine nouns ending in -o
Although nouns ending in -o are mostly masculine, some of them are feminine. Except for mano, most of them are abbreviations of compound nouns.
- Mano (hand)
- Foto : fotografía (photo, photograph)
- Moto : motocicleta (motorcycle)
3. Feminine nouns ending in -dad and -tad
|-dad||La calidad (quality)|
|-tad||La amistad (friendship)|
4. Feminine nouns ending in -ción and -sión
|-ción||La calefacción (heating)|
|-sión||La decisión (decision)|
5. Feminine nouns ending in -ie / -eza /-sis / -itis
|-ie||La serie (serie)|
|-eza||La naturaleza (nature)|
|-sis||La crisis (crisis)|
|-itis||La laringitis (laryngitis)|
6. Feminine nouns ending in -tud / -umbre
|-tud||La virtud (virtue)|
|-umbre||La certidumbre (certainty)|
Other endings for masculine and feminine nouns
|-e||using for both masculine and feminine nouns||
El examen (exam)
La clase (class)
using for both masculine and feminine nouns designating individuals and professions
El/La atleta (athlete)
El/La cantante (singer)
El/La intérprete (interpreter)
El/la dentista (dentist)
using for professions, animals, people
El inglés/La inglesa (Englishman/Englishwoman)
El campeón/La campeona (champion)
El profesor/La profesora (professor)
|invariable nouns: the article does not change||
El ángel (angel)
La victima (victim)
|/||invariable nouns: the article identify the gender||
El/La turista (tourist)
El/La joven (young man/youngwoman)
Feminine nouns which begin with a stressed -a or -ha take the masculine definite article in their singular form.
- El agua (water)
- El hambre (hunger)
Other masculine and feminine group of nouns
The following goup of nouns include some common words:
- nouns referring to people or animals may have different forms for the masculine and feminine:
|Masculine form||Femnine form|
|El actor (actor)||La actriz (actress)|
|El padre (father)||La madre (mother)|
|El marido / esposo (husband)||La esposa (wife)|
|El padre (father)||La madre (mother)|
|El príncipe (prince)||La princesa (princess)|
|El héroe (hero)||La heroína (heroine)|
|El rey (king)||La reína (queen)|
- some nouns have a different meaning if used with the masculine or the feminine article:
|Masculine form||Feminine form|
|El capital - capital (money)||La capital - city|
|El corte - cut||La corte - court|
|El cura - priest||La cura - cure|
|El editorial - newspaper editorial||La editorial - publishing house|
|El frente - front||La frente - forehead|
|El guía - guide||La guía - female guide, telephone guide, guidebook|
|El policía - police officer||La policía - the police force|
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