Red Flamenco Dress

NOUNS, ARTICLES AND GENDER

 

A noun is a word used to denote a person, place, thing, or idea.

Person: John, girl, dentist
Place: garden, university, London
Thing: book, car, tomato
Idea: liberty, despair, intelligence

Types of Spanish nouns

Los sustantivos individuales or individual nouns are used to designate unique objects that may be part of a category.

Llave (key), Lavadora (washing machine), Televisor (television), Fútbol (football)

Los sustantivos colectivos or collective nouns are used for categories of similar objects.

Deportes (Sports), Mamíferos (mammals), Peces (fish)

Los sustantivos contables or countable nouns are the ones we can count.

Lapices (pencils), libros (books), casas (houses), adultos (adults)

Los sustantivos no contables or uncountable nouns are those we cannot count.

Agua (water), Odio (hate), Amor (love), Belleza (beauty), Aire (air).

Los sustantivos simples or simple nouns are just nouns made out of one word.

Vestido (dress), Zapato (shoe), Blusa (Blouse)

Los sustantivos compuestos or compound nouns are the ones we form joining two words.

Electrodomésticos (electro + domésticos) (Electrodomestics), Abrelatas (abre + lata) (Can opener) and Paramédico (Para + Médico) (para medic).

Articles

The definite article (the) is used before a noun to indicate that the identity of the noun is known to the reader.

The indefinite article (a, an) is used before a noun that is general or when its identity is not known

There is a university in the city.

The university I went to, is over there.

 

In English, there is one definite article = The

In English, there are two indefinite articles = a, an

In Spanish, there are four definite articles = el, la, los, las

In Spanish, there are four indefinite articles = un, una, unos, unas

 

Gender

In Spanish, all nouns are either masculine or feminine.

Masculine nouns use the el definite article in singular and the los deginite article in the plural.

And Un for singular indefinite and unos for plural indefinite articles.

Feminine nouns use the la article in singular and the las article in plural and the una and unas for singular and plural indefinite articles.

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Masculine nouns that end in a consonant often have a corresponding feminine form that ends in -a.

el profesor  la profesora

el doctor  la doctora

el señor  la señora

Some nouns that refer to people use the same form for both masculine and feminine. These nouns indicate gender by the article (el or la).

el estudiante  la estudiante

el pianista  la pianista

el artista  la artista

Nouns that end in -sión, -ción, -dad, -tad, -tud, -umbre are feminine.

la televisión  la decisión
la conversación  la habitación
la ciudad  la universidad
la dificultad  la libertad
la actitud  la gratitud
la certidumbre  la muchedumbre

Some nouns that end in -a  or -ma are masculine.

el problema  
el programa  

el mapa
el sistema  

el poema
el día   

el tema
el idioma
el sofá  

Note: A few nouns that end in -ma are feminine, such as la cama and la pluma.
 

Four of the nouns that end in -a are simply exceptions and must be memorized.

 

el día
el mapa
el planeta
el sofá

A few nouns that end in -o are feminine.

la mano
la radio

When you learn a new word - YOU MUST LEARN THE ARTICLE - as this will tell you which one is feminine and which is masculine. You can't guess if a word is masculine or feminine. (for example the noun DRESS is Masculine whereas the word for a tie is feminine!)

There are rules but with many, many exceptions.

Here is a summary of a few rules to help you decide if a noun is masculine or feminine by the spelling of the noun:

  • Many nouns that denote living things have both a masculine and a feminine form.

  • Most nouns that end in -o are masculine.

  • Most nouns that end in -a are feminine.

  • Masculine nouns that end in a consonant often have a corresponding feminine form that ends in -a.

  • Some nouns that refer to people use the same form for both masculine and feminine. These nouns indicate gender by the article (el or la).

  • Nouns that end in -sión, -ción, -dad, -tad, -tud, -umbre are feminine.

  • Many nouns that end in -ma are masculine.

  • A few nouns that end in -o are feminine

Here are some further examples of nouns

nouns.png

Here are some useful links where you can find out more and practice nouns, articles and gender

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