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1.7: Gramática- Género de sustantivos

  • Page ID
    • Erica Brown, Alejandra Escudero, María Cristina Montoya, & Elizabeth Small
    • SUNY Oneonta via OER SUNY
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    • Identify the gender of nouns
    • Change nouns from singular to plural

    Marco Reyes is a new student at the university and he needs to enroll in Professor Rivera’s Spanish class. Read the conversation and answer the questions that follow:

    Marco: Hola, buenos días, Profesora. Me llamo Marco Reyes. Soy un nuevo estudiante en la universidad.
    Profesora Rivera: Bienvenido a la Universidad. Me llamo Graciela Rivera, encantada.
    Marco: Igualmente. ¿Cómo está usted?
    Prof. Rivera: Bien, gracias. ¿Y tú?
    Marco: Más o menos, gracias. Tengo una pregunta, ¿hay espacio en su clase de español?
    Prof. Rivera: Bueno, hay veinticinco estudiantes y solamente hay veinticinco pupitres.
    Marco: Perdón, pero, ¿no hay espacio para un pupitre más?
    Prof. Rivera: Vamos a ver. El salón de clase es muy grande. Hablo con los profesores de español para ver si hay un pupitre en otro salón de clases.
    Marco: Muchas gracias, Profesora Rivera. ¿También, hay un libro para la clase?
    Prof. Rivera: Sí, el libro se llama “Chévere Spanish 1”. También necesitas un diccionario, un cuaderno y unas carpetas para los papeles.
    Marco: OK, ¿necesito una computadora en clase?
    Prof. Rivera: No, no hay computadoras en mi clase.
    Marco: Entiendo, muchas gracias, Profesora. ¿Hay tarea para clase el lunes?
    Prof. Rivera: Sí por favor, lee las primeras treinta páginas del libro.
    Marco: Necesito el libro. Voy a la librería ahora. ¡Adiós!
    Prof. Rivera: Nos vemos el lunes.

    Actividad \(\PageIndex{A}\)

    Text only version of questions

    Preguntas de análisis:

    1. Look at the nouns in bold. How do you know if they are singular or plural?

    2. Look at the plural nouns. How do you think you form a plural noun in Spanish?



    • Identify the gender of nouns
    ¡OJO! (Watch out!) ¡El género de los sustantivos es importante!
    the pope
    el Papa
    the potato
    la papa

    Género de los sustantivos (Gender of Nouns)

    All nouns in Spanish have a gender: masculine or feminine. Except in the case of people or animals, linguistic gender is a convention of language, not a property of the noun. For this reason, you won’t be able to guess the gender of a noun based on the object itself; you need to learn the gender along with the noun. However, there are some rules that can help you guess the gender of an unknown word:

    1. The gender of nouns:

    • The definite article meaning “the” is la for feminine singular nouns.
      • Most words ending in –a are feminine

    la chica 
    la silla 
    la tiza 

      • All words ending in -sión, -ción, -tad, -dad, and –umbre are feminine.

    la televisión 
    la educación 
    la dificultad 
    la universidad 
    la lumbre 

    • The definite article meaning “the” is el for masculine singular nouns. Notice that el without the accent mark is the article… what does él mean? That’s right, it means “he”. Don’t confuse el and él!
      • Most words ending in –o are masculine.

    el chic
    el libro 
    el cuaderno 

      • Many but not all words ending in –ma are masculine (the ones that originated from the Greek language are the masculine ones).

    el problema 
    el clima 
    el idioma 

    • Many nouns end in –e. While statistically more are masculine than feminine, there is no firm rule for these and you need to memorize their gender when learning their meaning.

    la clase 

    el diente 
    el coche 

    • Many nouns that end in consonants other than -d or -z are masculine, but again this is not a firm rule and you must memorize their gender.

    el honor 
    el hospital 
    el hotel 

    • There are other nouns that do not clearly reveal their gender, so it is important that you memorize them.

    el pupitre 
    el lápiz 
    el reloj 
    la luz 
    la pared 

    • There are also some exceptions to the above patterns that you have to remember.

    el día 
    el mapa 
    la mano 
    la foto (short for la fotografía
    la moto (short for la motocicleta

    2. People:

    el muchacho (boy  la muchacha (girl
    el niño (male child  la niña (female child
    el maestro (male teacher  la maestra (female teacher
    el compañero de clase (male classmate  la compañera de clase (female classmate
    el amigo (male friend  la amiga (female friend

    • However, other nouns are completely different for masculine and feminine forms.

    el hombre (man  la mujer (woman

    • Some nouns for people are identical, and the gender is shown only in the definite article. ¡OJO! A large number of words that identify members of professions or groups end in “-ista” and only distinguish gender by the article; these words end in “-ista” even if masculine.

    el estudiante (male student  la estudiante (female student
    el dentista (male dentist  la dentista (female dentist
    el optimista (male optimist) la optimista (female optimist)
    el anarquista (male anarchist) la anarquista (female anarchist)

    Remember! The gender of nouns that do not refer to people is an inherent characteristic that cannot be changed. If you change the gender ending of an inanimate object, you can be changing the meaning of the noun to another legitimate word in Spanish.

    • el caso (case  la casa (house
    • el puerto (port  la puerta (door
    • el Papa (the Pope  la papa (potato
    • el libro (book  la libra (pound


    • Change nouns from singular to plural

    Número de los sustantivos (Number of Nouns)

    Photo of a man and a dog
    un perro
    Dog walkers with many dogs
    muchos perros

    How to make a noun plural:

    • If a word ends in a vowel, add –s (cuaderno – cuadernos  ) (chica – chicas  )
    • If a word ends in a consonant, add an –es (marcador – marcadores  ) (reloj – relojes  )
    • If a word ends in -z, change the “z” to c and add –es (lápiz- lápices  ) (luz – luces  )

    The plural of the feminine singular article “la” (the) is therefore “las”. The plural of the masculine singular article “el” (the) is irregular: “los”.

    A Practicar

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Ejercicios: Género y número de sustantivos. Authored by: SUNY Oneonta with Lumen Learning. Provided by: SUNY Oneonta. LicenseCC BY: Attribution
    • Ejercicios: Género y número de sustantivos. Authored by: Lumen Learning with Freedom Learning Group. LicenseCC BY: Attribution
    CC licensed content, Shared previously
    • Gramu00e1tica: Gu00e9nero de sustantivos. Authored by: SUNY Oneonta with Lumen Learning. Provided by: SUNY Oneonta. License: CC BY: Attribution

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