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!
Spanish nouns, like their counterparts in any other languages, can either be a person, place, thing, or an idea.
Now, a 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.
Were you able to get the answers right? Now let’s move on.
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:
Seems simple enough! But be careful, because there are 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.
Now for some additional rules:
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!
Wait--it’s not all cut-and-dried yet. Here are some more extra things you should know.
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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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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