¡Hola! We have reviewed Spanish verbs in two different series in our blogs, “False Cognates” and “Learn Spanish verbs”. There are 5 elements that you need to learn to be fluent in Spanish: Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening, Speaking, and conversational and literary fluency. (Blog: 3 Key Elements to learn Spanish quickly)
Now let’s review some Spanish grammar.
Learn Spanish Online Grammar series
Lesson (1) Rule of articles
Masculine and Feminine
– All nouns in Spanish are either masculine or feminine. Nouns that end in -o usually are masculine, and those that end in -a usually are feminine.
el hermano (brother) – la hermana (sister)
el amigo (male friend) – la amiga (female friend)
– What about the Spanish nouns that end with consonants such as -l, -n, -r, or -s? Those nouns are usually masculine. Those nouns can be changed to feminine by adding an -a at the end.
el español (male Spanish) – la española (female Spanish)
el león (male lion) – la leona (female lion)
el autor (male author) – la autora (female author)
el frenancés (male French) – la francesa (female French)
– Other nouns that end with consonants such as -d, -sión, -ción and -z are usually feminine.
la ciudad (city), la decisión (decision), la estación (station), and la luz (light)
– There are 6 rule-breaker groups, though. These Spanish nouns are a little tricky and you may just have to memorize them. Let’s learn what those 6 rule-breakers are.
How do you remember whether those Spanish nouns are masculine or feminine? You need to say these nouns out loud with the article whenever you use them so that you will reinforce the correct forms and your ears will tell you when “it sounds right” or “it sounds wrong”.
Spanish nouns that end in -o, -e, -l and -r but are feminine:
-o: la foto (from fotografía for photograph), la moto (from motocicleta for motorcycle), and la mano (hand)
-e: la calle (street), la carne (meat), la clase (class), la clave (code, key), la frente (front), la fiebre (fever), la frase (sentence), la fuente (source), la gente (people), la gripe (flu), la leche (milk), la llave (key), la muerte (death), la nave (boat), la nieve (snow), la noche (night), la nube (cloud), la sangre (blood), la suerte (luck), la tarde (afternoon), y la torre (tower)
-l: la cárcel (jail), la miel (honey), la piel (skin), and la sal (salt)
-r: la flor (flower), and la mujer (woman)
Spanish nouns that end in -a, -d, and -z but are feminine:
-a: el cometa (comet), el día (day), el mapa (map), and el planeta (planet)
-d: el huésped (guest), and el ataúd (coffin)
-z: el ajedrez (chess), el aprendiz (apprentice), el arroz (rice), el avestruz (ostrich), el lápiz (pencil), el maíz (maize), and el pez (fish).
Some Spanish nouns are identical in both masculine and feminine forms:
-e: el/la adolescente (adolescent), agente (agent), cantante (singer), estudiante (student), and visitante (visitor)
-a: artista (artist), astronauta (astronaut), atleta (athlete), espía (spy), indígena (indigene), periodista (journalist), and turista (traveler)
-o: testigo (witness), and modelo (model)
-n: joven (youth)
Some Spanish nouns have special masculine and feminine forms:
el actor (actor) – la actriz (actress)
el barón (baron) – la baronesa (baroness)
el caballero (gentleman) – la dama (lady)
el caballo (horse) – la yegua (mare)
el carnero (sheep) – la oveja (ewe)
el hombre (man) – la mujer (woman)
el macho (male) – la hembra (female)
el padre (father) – la madre (mother)
el príncipe (prince) – la princesa (princess)
el rey (king) – la reina (queen)
el toro (bull) – la vaca (cow)
el yerno (son-in-law) – la nuera (daughter-in-law)
Spanish Nouns ending in -ma but are masculine and are of Greek origin:
el arma (weapon), el asma (asthma), el clima (weather), el diploma (diploma), el drama (drama), el idioma (language), el poema (poem), el problema (problem), el programa (program), el sistema (system), el telegrama (telegram), and el tema (theme)
Some Spanish nouns change their meanings depending on whether they are in masculine or feminine forms:
el capital (capital, money) – la capital (city capital)
el cólera (cholera) – la cólera (anger)
el corte (cut) – la corte (court)
el cura (priest) – la cura (healing)
el guía (guide as a person) – la guía (guidebook)
el modelo (type of model) – la modelo (fashion model)
el orden (order as an arrangement) – la orden (order as a command)
el papa (pope) – la papa (potato)
el policía (police officer) – la policía (police station)
Do you want to practice these special masculine and feminine nouns more with a private tutor and much more? Learn Spanish online with our private teachers.
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