A Review of Articles & Feminine and Masculine Gender in Spanish

What do boys, girls and newspapers have to do with learning the Spanish language, you might say? Hah! A lot 😉  “Articles” are actually what we would refer to as “the”, “a” or “some”, and gender in language is something we don’t use in English–that’s why it sounds so strange!

Below is a table illustrating Spanish articles:

Singular

A (m/f)…………………Un/Una

The (sing, m/f)……… El/La

Plural

Some (m/f)….. …….. Unos/Unas

The (plural, m/f)……..Los/Las

Un is the masculine Spanish version of “a” and una is the feminine Spanish version of “a”.  The plural version of “a” in English is “some”, and thus the Spanish plural versions are unos (masculine) and unas (feminine).  As the chart above indicates, the Spanish singular version of “the” is el or la, depending on the gender, with el being masculine and la being feminine.  Although “the” doesn’t change in plural in English, it does in Spanish; therefore, we need to add an “s” to la to make las, and change el to los.  Confused? The chart above spells it out much more clearly, so we encourage you to look at that for a faster and simpler understanding 😉

As for genders, we’ve already told you that un, unos, el and los are masculine and una, unas, la and las are feminine, but there’s actually more to it than just the articles. All nouns have a gender, too.  Masculine genders usually end in anO” , and feminine genders usually end in an “A”. There are some exceptions such as “el díaand “la mano”, but generally speaking, the article of the noun always matches the ending of the noun.  In other words, if an article is feminine, then the ending of the noun should be feminine too!  Please review the chart below for a clearer, more visual explanation:

Masculine/Masculino                                  

A thermometer→Un termómetro

Feminine/Femenino

A pill→ Una pastilla

If a noun ends in a consonant, you can usually add anAto make it feminine. Example:

Masculine/Masculino

The doctor→ El doctor

Feminine/Femenino

The doctor→ La doctora

Sometimes in Spanish you hear words, and you’re not sure of its gender…What to do? Here’s actually a helpful hint: Most nouns that end in –ad, -ión, -ez, -ud, and -umbre are feminine. For example: la ciudad, la canción, la madurez, la salud, la legumbre. Pretty nifty, eh?

Finally, one last tip is that when you change a noun to its plural form, you also change the article to its plural form: Un→Unos, Una→Unas, El→Los, La→Las. If the singular noun ends in a vowel, add anS” to make it plural, and if the singular noun ends in a consonant, add anESto make it plural. Please review the examples below for another visual explanation:

Masculine/Masculino                                  

A thermometer→Un termómetro

Some thermometersUnos termómetros    

The doctor→ El doctor

The doctors→ Los doctores

Feminine/Femenino

A pill→ Una pastilla

Some pillsUnas pastillas

The woman→ La mujer

The women→ Las mujeres

We hope this article has helped and given you a clearer understanding of genders, articles, and how it all fits together in Spanish! Stay tuned, because soon we will be stringing all this information together into sentences 😉

As always, below is an infographic, and soon we will be posting a video as well, for those of you who like audio and visual! Please post any comments, questions or feedback you might have! We’d love to hear from you 😉

review of articles and gender in spanish
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