Spanish Nouns: A Quick and Easy Guide for Beginners - My Daily Spanish

Spanish Nouns: A Quick and Easy Guide for Beginners

Looking to learn about Spanish nouns and noun genders? This short article will answer your basic questions about the topic.

Here’s what’s inside:

Ready to start the lesson? Let’s begin!

I. What are Spanish nouns?

Spanish nouns, like their counterparts in any other languages, can either be a person, place, thing, or an idea.

Quick exercise

Can you identify which among the words in the following Spanish conversation are nouns?

María: Bienvenido a mi casa. (Welcome to my house.)

Juan: Gracias. (Thank you.)

María: Vamos al salón. Allí tengo unas silla y la televisión. Podemos ver algo. La comida está en la cocina. Todavía está en el horno. (Let’s go to the living room. There, I have chairs and the television. We can watch something. The food is in the kitchen. It’s still in the oven.)

Juan: ¿Dónde está el baño? (Where is the bathroom?)

María: Uno está aquí, y el otro está cerca del salón. Hay dos baños en mi casa. (One is here, and the other is close to the living room. There are two bathrooms in my house.)

Here are the answers:

María, casa, Juan, salón, silla, televisión, comida, cocina, horno, baño.

MaríaBienvenido a mi casa. 

JuanGracias. 

María: Vamos al salón. Allí tengo unas silla y la televisión. Podemos ver algo. La comida está en la cocina. Todavía está en el horno.

Juan: ¿Dónde está el baño? 

María: Uno está aquí, y el otro está cerca del salón. Hay dos baños en mi casa. 

Were you able to get the answers right?

Great! Now let’s move on.

II. Spanish noun genders

If you noticed from the short exercise above, each Spanish noun comes with a different article before it.

Why is it la televisión and  la cocina while it’s also el horno and el baño?

Say hello to Spanish noun genders!

Here are more examples:

Mesa – Table (feminine)

Perro – Dog (masculine)

Libro – Book (masculine)

Casa – House (feminine)

Now it may be confusing for new learners, but after a bit of exposure to this lesson, you’ll understand that there is in fact, a system to it.

Here are some basic rules to remember on Spanish noun genders

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    Generally speaking, words that end in -o are masculine (perro/libro)
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    Words that end in -a are feminine (mesa/ casa)

Seems simple enough! But be careful, because there are Spanish nouns that don’t end in -o or -a. What about those?

In several cases, you’ll be able to identify masculine or feminine nouns based on the gender associated with the word. Such as:

Mujer – Woman (feminine)

Hombre – Man (masculine)

But some of the word genders just do not seem easy to figure out.

Additional rules

Masculine

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    Ends in -o
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    Ends in an accented vowel (á, é, í, ó, ú)
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    Ends in -ma (be careful with this one!)
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    Ends in a consonant that isn’t -d or -z
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    Ends in -e

Feminine

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    Ends in -a
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    Ends in -sión or -ción
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    Ends in -dad or -tad or -tud
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    Ends in -umbre
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    Ends in -d or -z

Note: As you will discover as we go along, there are ALWAYS exceptions in Spanish.

For example, día (“day”) ends in an -a but is, in fact, masculine. And lápiz (“pencil”) ends in “-z” but is masculine as well!

Is it a boy… no it’s a girl! Oh, it’s both!

Wait--it’s not all cut-and-dried yet. Here are some more extra things you should know.

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    Words that end in -ista are used for both masculine and feminine. For example, el artista/ la artista, and el pianista/ la pianista.
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    Your giveaway would be the article that accompanies the noun.
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    In Spanish dictionaries, watch out the the (m) or (f) annotations after each word. This will give you a clue on the gender of the particular Spanish word.
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    Your best bet would be to learn the Spanish word together with the gender. This way, your ears will be more attuned to the sound of the Spanish word and its correct gender.

III. Conclusion

Spanish noun genders can be overwhelming for new learners. But don’t let it get to you! Take it slow and mind all the rules we shared above. With more and more exposure to the Spanish language, determining the gender will get easier in time.

Do you want more short lessons like this? If you want a concise and simplified approach to learning Spanish which includes quizzes, vocabulary lists, audio guides, and writing and listening practice exercises, get your hands on a copy of My Spanish Routine Volume 1. It’s a complete step-by-step method for complete beginners.

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A CompleteStep-by-Step Method to Learn Spanish

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    One lesson per day: five days a week for four weeks
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    A strong focus on listening: listen to Spanish audio guides recorded by native speakers and practice your pronunciation
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    Short lessons are broken down into grammar, vocabulary topics, audio guides, and learning exercises

About the Author Janey

Janey is a fan of different languages and studied Spanish, German, Mandarin, and Japanese in college. She has now added French into the mix, though English will always be her first love. She loves reading anything (including product labels).

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