Gender in Spanish language

Spanish language has a concept of gender. It means that any noun which we use is either masculine or feminine.

In most cases gender of nouns can be distinguished by noun endings. Sometimes, the gender can even be changed with the help of endings. Although it happens that the ending does not tell us anything. Let’s look at all situation one by one.

First of all, it should be noted that the gender of nouns in Spanish is very important, since all elements (adjectives, articles, demonstrative pronouns) are associated with it.

The table below shows the basic rules and signs of dividing nouns into masculine and feminine.

Masculine

Feminine

Masculine nouns in Spanish usually end in -O:

el libro – a book         el caso – a case

el dinero - money       el vaso – a glass

Feminine nouns in Spanish usually end in -A:

la cosa — a thing       la casa —a house

la palabra — a word   la mesa — a table

Exceptions:

el día – a day

as well as masculine nouns of Greek origin with endings -ma (-ema), ta:

el clima - climate        el tema – a topic

el problema – a problem        el idioma - language

el pijama - pajamas    el mapa – a map

etc.

Exceptions:

la mano — a hand

la radio — a radio

la foto — a photo (la fotografía)

la moto — a motorbike (la motocicleta)

Nouns with the following endings belong to masculine gender:

-aje:

el masaje – a massage

el paisaje – a landscape

-e, -i, -u:

el café - coffee            el espíritu - spirit, soul

el nombre – a name    el apellido – a surname

-or:

el amor - love

el olor - odor

But!

la flor – a flower

la amistad - friendship

la canción – a song

Nouns with the following endings belong to feminine gender:

-dad (tad), -ción, (sión):

la ciudad — a city

la edad — age

la profesión — a profession

la dirección — an address

Nouns that denote people or animals usually have 2 forms: feminine and masculine, (the masculine form is written in the dictionary as the base)

The ending of the word may vary, depending on the kind of person or animal we are speaking about

el ingeniero — an engineer

el maestro — a teacher

el chico — a guy

el hermano — a brother

la ingeniera — an engineer (a woman)

la maestra — a teacher (a woman)

la chica — a girl

la hermana — a sister

OR " ORA

The ending of the word may vary, depending on the kind of person or animal we are speaking about

el pintor — an artist

el profesor — a professor

la pintora — an artist (woman)

la profesora — a professor (woman)

ISTA, NTE " ISTA, NTE

(only article changes)

el pianista — a pianist

el estudiante — a student

la pianista — a pianist (woman)

la estudiante — a student (woman)

In some cases, the nouns of the masculine and feminine gender are called completely different words:

el padre — a father

el hombre — a man

el caballo — a horse

la madre — a mother

la mujer — a woman

la yegua — a mare

In some cases, we use special endings to form feminine nouns:

el actor — an actor

el alcalde —a mayor

el tigre — a tiger

la actriz — an actress

la alcadesa — a mayor (woman)

la tigresa — a tigress

 

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