Spanish Learning Review

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Learn Spanish Nouns

Nouns are naming words. We use them to give names to people, objects, thoughts, feelings, substances, etc.

María - Mary
mesa - table

In Spanish nouns distinguish between masculine and feminine. Generally if a noun ends in:

-o it is masculine
-a is feminine

Éste es mi niño. - This is my child. (boy)
Ésta es mi niña. - This is my child. (girl)

Although Spanish nouns are classified as either feminine or masculine, remember that there can be feminine nouns that describe things we think of as masculine, and vice versa. For example, el elefante refers to an elephant whether it's male or female. For some people, it might be easier to think of them as simply two classifications rather than giving them a sexual identity. Unlike German and some other Indo-European languages, Spanish has no neuter nouns. (There are a few neuter pronouns, such as lo and ello, which are used under limited circumstances, however.)

The basic rule is that masculine nouns go with masculine adjectives and articles, and feminine nouns go with feminine adjectives and articles. (In English, the articles are "a," "an" and "the." Also note that in Spanish many adjectives don't have separate masculine and feminine forms.) And if you use a pronoun to refer to a masculine noun, you use a masculine pronoun; feminine pronouns refer to feminine nouns.

One cannot predict the gender of a noun that stands for a non-living thing. Try to predict whether the Spanish words for the following things are masculine or feminine:book, house, money.

One cannot predict the gender of a noun, except in the case of living creatures. Do not try to analyze the nature of the object, looking for some inherent masculinity or femininity. It won't work!

When you learn a new noun, you should also learn its definite article (el, la). There are several reasons for this:

  • Because you cannot predict the gender of most nouns.
  • Because not every noun that ends in -o is masculine, and not every noun that ends in -a is feminine.
  • Because many nouns end in letters other than o or a.
  • Because the definite article (el, la) is your clue as to whether a noun is masculine or feminine.

Spanish nouns also distinguish between singular and plural. Generally, add: -s to the end to make a singular noun plural

Good luck friend!

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