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4.2: Nouns and articles

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    222463
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    What is a noun?

    A noun is a person, place, or thing. Like English, nouns in Spanish may be singular or plural. However, unlike English, Spanish nouns can be either masculine or feminine. The easiest way of determining the gender of the noun is to learn the noun along with its corresponding definite article.

    Definite articles

    A definite article is specific, it defines the number and gender of the noun it corresponds to. In English, the only definite article is the, whereas in Spanish there are four of them: la, el, los and las.

    Table 4.2. Singular and Plural Definite Articles.
    Gender Singular Plural
    masculine el los
    feminine la las
    Ejemplos:
    Table 4.3. Singular and Plural Definite Articles with Examples.
    Gender Singular Plural
    masculine el libro los libros
      el chico los chicos
    feminine la silla las sillas
      la chica las chicas

    Gender of nouns

    Generally, in Spanish nouns ending in -o are masculine, while nouns ending in -a are feminine. A masculine noun may end in -or (el profesor); to make it feminine, you add an -a (la profesora). However, some nouns that end in -a it can be either masculine or feminine; in this case, gender is determined by the article in front of the noun (el artista, la artista). Nouns that end in -ión (la decisión), -dad (la universidad), and -z (la luz) are feminine, though there are exceptions.

    When the noun is plural, you must be mindful of gender as well. If the group is made up of feminine nouns in its entirety, then be sure to employ the feminine form (las estudiantes). However, if the group is mixed, that is, it includes at least one masculine noun, then you must employ the masculine form (2 chicas + 1 chico = los chicos).

    There are exceptions to these general rules, of course, so be sure to consult your dictionary or your professor.

    Select the play button to hear an example.

    Query \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    This section includes content derived from Introduction to French (2nd ed.), originally released under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, Liberté, originally released under CC BY-NC-SA, and Tex’s French Grammar, originally released under CC BY 3.0.


    This page titled 4.2: Nouns and articles is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Rita Palacios via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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