In Spanish, all nouns are divided into masculine and feminine. This includes not only people, but also animals, places, things (chair, keys, food, etc), and ideas. There are several general gender rules that most words follow.
Nouns that refer to males and most other nouns that end in
–o are masculine.
el hombre el señor el libro el cuarto
Nouns that refer to females and most other nouns that end in
–a, -ción, -sión , -tad, and –dad are feminine.
la mujer la señora la mesa la nación la universidad
Nouns with any other endings and those that do not refer to a male or female must be memorized.
la noche la clase el lapíz
A common exception to the normal rules of gender is the word el día, which is masculine in gender. Many words ending in –ma are also masculine:
el problema el programa el sistema
Many other nouns that refer to people have a single form for both masculine and feminine genders. Gender is indicated by the article.
el/la estudiante el/la dentista el/la clienta
However, a few nouns that end in –e also have a feminine form that ends in an –a.
el presidente la presidenta el dependiente la dependienta
Many nouns that refer to people indicate gender:
By changing the last vowel: el amigo la amiga
By adding –a to the last consonant to make it feminine:
el profesor la profesora
Articles are adjective words such as a, an (indefinite), and the (definite). In Spanish, articles must agree in gender and number. Definite masculine nouns get the definite masculine article el. Definite feminine nouns get the definite feminine article la. Los and Las are their respective plural forms. The indefinite articles are un for masculine nouns and una for feminine nouns. Unos and unas are their respective plural forms. This is unlike how we use articles inEnglish according to how they sound (like using “an” before a word that begins with a vowel).
Definite Articles: “the” Indefinite Articles: “a, an, some”
el la un una
los las unos unas
Other than normal English uses, articles are used with abstract nouns (la pobreza), titles of people (el señor López), with infinitives used as nouns (el practicar deporte—practicing sports), with nouns listed in a series, with a noun of weight or measure, with days of the week, when telling time (las doce—two o’clock), with parts of the body or clothes, and to generalize.
There is no neutral thing in the Spanish language. Everything is either feminine or masculine. Still there is a neutral article. The neutral article lo forms a noun from an adjective. It is a generalization like in English combination of the + adjective. However, you probably won’t use this very often.
lo raro es ... = the weird / the strange (thing) is ...
lo bueno en eso caso es … = the good in this case is …
Articles must agree in number.
two women dos señoras las señoras
Nouns that end in a vowel form plurals by adding –s.
el cristiano los cristianos
Nouns that end in a consonant form plurals by adding –es.
el papel los papeles
Nouns that end in the consonant –z must change the –z to a –c before adding –es.
el lápiz los lápices
For a group that includes both males and females, the masculine plural form of a noun is used.
los estudiantes los cristianos los niños los padres