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4.3: Los sustantivos (Nouns)

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    Los sustantivos / nombres (Nouns)

    Thinking about the grammar

    What do you notice about the words in these two columns?

    el libro la pantalla
    el cielo la computadora
    el piso la mochila
    el bolígrafo la pluma
    el niño (the boy) la niña (the girl)
    el gato (the cat, male) la gata (the cat, female)


    These words have ¨el¨ before them and end in ¨o¨.

    These words have ¨la¨ before them and end in ¨a¨.

    Más información:

    • The division of these words is based on something called gender. Of course, objects do not have gender. It is just a category of words when it comes to objects. When referring to people or animals, the gender of the word matches the gender of the person or animal. The number one rule for gender of words is that words that end in ¨o¨ are masculine and those that end in ¨a¨ are feminine. This is not 100%. There are exceptions. However, if you do not know the gender of the word, you can make a guess based on the ending of ¨o¨ or ¨a¨ and be quite likely to get it right.
    • Note that some words do not end in either ¨o¨ or ¨a¨. There are still guidelines to follow, but they are not as likely to be accurate as the ¨a¨ / ¨o¨ determinant. Looking at the following columns, what do you think these guidelines are?
      el problema la nación
      el poema la televisión
        la universidad
        la diversidad
        la libertad
        la actitud
        la costumbre

      Answer: Words that end in –ma are usually masculine. Words that end in –ión, -dad, -tad, -tud, and –umbre are usually feminine.

    4.3: Los sustantivos (Nouns) is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.