Using Nouns In Spanish
Table of Contents
|1. What is a Noun In Spanish?||2. Gender of Nouns in Spanish|
|3. Types of Nouns in Spanish Language||4. When referring to Animal Gender in Spanish|
|5. Masculine or Feminine Noun of Things||6. Referring to Nouns for Rivers, Mountains, Sea|
|7. Feminine Nouns Ending with -a, -dad, -tad||8. How to Form Plural Nouns in Spanish|
|9. Nouns Ending in –s and –x||10. Nouns Ending in –s having an Unstressed Final Syllable|
|11. Noun Ending in a Stressed Final Vowel||12. Plural vs Singular Nouns|Nouns in the Spanish language are exactly the same as in the English language. They’re used to name living things, objects, ideas, abstract concepts and things. However, in the Spanish language there are many differences that require extra effort to be learnt.
In the Spanish language nouns have gender. They can be masculine or feminine. Every single noun no matter its category has a gender. Neutral gender doesn’t exist in the Spanish language as in the English language. Gender is very important since the adjectives, articles, pronouns and quantifiers that accompany the noun are also affected by gender. All of these words that accompany the noun need to have the same gender. This is called concordancia or agreement. You can simply say La casa bonita which means The pretty house. First, as you can see, in the Spanish language the adjective goes after the noun. Secondly, all three words end in the letter –a which marks the feminine gender. Another example is El gato malo or The bad cat. The –o ending implies it’s masculine. In some cases, you can see a noun’s gender in its ending.
In the Spanish language nouns have gender. They can be masculine or feminine. Every single noun no matter its category has a gender. Neutral gender doesn’t exist in the Spanish language as in the English language.
Gender is very important since the adjectives, articles, pronouns and quantifiers that accompany the noun are also affected by gender. All of these words that accompany the noun need to have the same gender. This is called concordancia or agreement. You can simply say La casa bonita which means The pretty house. First, as you can see, in the Spanish language the adjective goes after the noun. Secondly, all three words end in the letter –a which marks the feminine gender. Another example is El gato malo or The bad cat. The –o ending implies it’s masculine. In some cases, you can see a noun’s gender in its ending.
|La mesa||The table (feminine)|
|El abogado||The lawyer (masculine)|
|La puerta||The door (feminine)|
|El loro||The parrot (masculine)|
|La esperanza||The hope (feminine)|
|El arte||The art (masculine)|
|La escuela||The school (feminine)|
|La paciencia||The patience (feminine)|
Common nouns refer to people, animals or things and they’re written in lowercase.
When talking about people, nouns change according to gender. The same happens with the article that goes before them. In the case of masculine and singular nouns, they’re preceded by a masculine article El. In the case of feminine and singular nouns, they’re preceded by a feminine article La. La and El are translated as The.
Some nouns don’t end neither in –a nor in –o. In those cases, so as to know if the speaker is making reference to a man or woman the article will help you to figure out the gender. In some others, the –a or –o ending doesn’t follow the male and female rule. It means the same word is used for both genders.
There are a few exceptions to the rule, so it’s important to learn articles and gender together with nouns.
|El hermano||The brother|
|La hermana||The sister|
|El camarero||The waiter|
|La mesa||The table|
|El sombrero||The hat|
|El estudiante||The student (masculine)|
|La cantante||The singer (feminine)|
|La solista / El solista||The soloist|
|La foto||The photo|
When referring to animals, in the Spanish language there are sometimes two separate words depending on the sex of the animal. In some others, the –a and –o rule is applied. In some other cases, animals’ sex doesn’t matter and the same gender is used for both.
|El toro||The bull|
|La vaca||The cow|
|El ternero||The calf|
|La ternera||The calf|
|El gato||The cat|
|La gata||The cat|
|El ganso||The goose|
|La gansa||The goose|
|EL/La hámster||The hamster|
|El/La sapo||The toad|
|La víbora||The snake|
In the case of things and ideas there is no way to know whether they’re masculine or feminine. It’s a matter of acquiring the difference in the learning process. However, there are certain word endings that may help you out to know if they’re masculine or feminine.
The –o ending makes reference to masculine nouns. In the case of languages, days of the week and months of the year are also considered to be masculine gender.
|El libro||The book|
|El colectivo||The bus|
|El barco||The boat|
|El martes||On Tuesday|
|El sábado||On Saturday|
|El Español||The Spanish language|
|El Inglés||The English language|
|El octubre||In October|
As regards names of rivers, mountains and seas they are all written with a masculine article.
|El Everest||The Everest|
|El Pacífico||The Pacific|
|El Río de la Plata||The River Plate|
|El Támesis||The Thames|
|El Aconcagua||The Aconcagua|
In the case of feminine nouns there are several word endings such as –a, -ción, -sión, -dad, -tad and –tud.
|La caña||The cane|
|La casa||The house|
|La canción||The song|
|La mansión||The mansion|
|La reducción||The reduction|
|La ciudad||The city|
|La calidad||The quality|
|La altitud||The altitude|
|La cantidad||The quantity|
|La multitud||The multitude|
Plural nouns in the Spanish language are much simpler than in the English language since you only have to add –s or –es to a noun. However, articles and adjectives also need to agree with plural nouns. Articles and adjectives also take the plural form. You simply add Los to plural masculine nouns and Las to plural feminine nouns.
If a noun ends in any unstressed vowel you need to add –s to form the plural form. Stressed final vowels take –es to form the plural form. Whereas, if a noun ends in a consonant letter you simply add –es. If a word ends in –z to form the plural you simply change to –c and then add –es.
|El libro||Los libros||The books|
|La mesa||Las mesas||The tables|
|El billete||Los billetes||The notes|
|El jabalí||Los jabalíes||The wild boars|
|El colibrí||Los colibríes||The hummingbirds|
|El reloj||Los relojes||The watches|
|La ciudad||Las ciudades||The cities|
|El plural||Los plurales||The plurals|
|La cruz||Las cruces||The crosses|
|La luz||Las luces||The lights|
However words ending in –s and –x with an unstressed final syllable remain the same in the plural form.
|El tórax||Los tórax||The thorax|
|El cactus||Los cactus||The cacti|
|El virus||Los virus||The viruses|
|La crisis||Las crisis||The crisis|
|El fax||Los fax||The faxes|
In the case of nouns which already end in –s and have an unstressed final syllable, they remain the same in the plural form.
|El paraguas||Los paraguas||The umbrellas|
|El martes||Los martes||The tuesdays|
|El cumpleaños||Los cumpleaños||The birthdays|
|El bicep||Los bíceps||The biceps|
|La caries||Las caries||The tooth cavities|
If a noun ends in a stressed final vowel you simply add –s. Whereas, those nouns ending in –í or –ú you can simply add –es or –s.
|El café||Los cafés||The café|
|El sofá||Los sofás||The sofas|
|El ombú||Los ombús||The ombues|
|El tabú||Los tabúes/tabús||The tabues|
|El israelí||Los israelíes||The Israelies|
There are many words that behave differently in the Spanish language as regards plurals and singulars. This is the case to name clothes in the Spanish language. In Spanish, many garments are in the singular form whereas in English the only way to name them is in the plural form.
There are other exceptions when talking about furniture, for instance. Whereas in English some words are singular, in the Spanish language they are singular and plural.
|El zapato||Los zapatos||A pair of shoes|
|El pantalón||Los pantalones||A pair of trousers|
|El calsonzillo||Los calsonzillos||A pair of underpants|
|El guante||Los guantes||A pair of gloves|
|El aro||Los aros||A pair of earrings|
|El mueble||Los muebles||A piece of furniture|
|El consejo||Los consejos||A piece of advice|