Carolina, the student we met in the first section of this module, has made a list of the school supplies she needs some of her classes this semester. What does she need? Have a look at her list. ¿Es tu lista similar a la lista de Carolina?
Attribution: By Gabriela C. Zapata, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
¿Comprendiste? Responde las preguntas a continuación sobre la lista de Carolina.
- ¿Es tu lista similar o diferente? ¿Por qué? ¿Qué útiles escolares hay en tu lista? Usa un/una and el/la to talk about your list.
- ¿Quién es el profesor de la clase de sicología?
- ¿Qué necesita Carolina para el curso de la Dra. Moyna?
- ¿Qué compra (buys) Carolina para las entrevistas?
- ¿Hay un libro en la clase de sicología? ¿Cuál es el nombre?
In Módulo introductorio, we saw that we use nouns (los sustantivos) to talk about people, animals, places, things, and ideas, and we learned that los sustantivos have gender (género–femenino or masculino). Of course, this does not mean that Spanish speakers believe that all things have gender. In Spanish, gender is a grammatical feature. Sometimes, the ending in a noun can tell you if it has feminine or masculine gender. For example, most nouns ending in -a are feminine, and most nouns ending in -o are masculine. When a noun is accompanied by an indefinite article (un or una) or by a definite article (el or la), the article will match the gender of the noun. Have a look at these examples.
|Masculine Nouns||Feminine Nouns|
|Definite Articles||el niño the boyel escritorio the desk||la niña the girlla puerta the door|
|Indefinite Articles||un niño a (one) boyun escritorio a (one) desk||una niña a (one) girluna puerta a (one) door|
Unfortunately, with some endings, it is difficult to determine gender (e.g., those that end in a consonant, such as lápiz, which is masculine, or in other vowels, such as clase, which is feminine). Therefore, we recommend that when you learn a new word, you also learn the definite article that accompanies it. That way, you will remember the gender of the noun, and it will also be easy to figure out what the indefinite articles is when you need it. Here are other rules that might help you determine the gender of some nouns.
1. Nouns that that end in -ión, -tad, and -dad, or end in other consonants and refer to beings with female attributes are feminine in gender.Modelo(s):la mujer, la canción (the song), la amistad (friendship), la ciudad (the city).
2. Many nouns that end in -ta or -ma are masculine.Modelo(s):el cometa, el planeta, el tema (the theme, the topic), el poema
3. Some nouns that refer to people have a single form; therefore, they can be both masculine and feminine, and gender is indicated by the article chosen to refer to them. You already know one of these nouns, estudiante (el/la estudiante).Modelo(s):el/la paciente (the patient), el/la dentista, el/la periodista (the journalist/reporter).
There are some words that do not follow the rules discussed above, and thus, you need to follow our recommendation: Learn the word and the article to remember their gender. Some of the words in this category are: La mente (the mind), la gente ([the] people), la clase, el mapa, el día, la mano (the hand), el agua (water). The following video summarizes the information discussed in this section.
¿Y el plural? What happens if we need to talk about people, things, places, etc. in the plural? Well, it is quite easy.
- If we need an article to refer to them, we need to transform the singular form of the indefinite (un –> unos; una –> unas) or the definite (el –> los; la –> las) articles into the plural.
- We need to use the plural form of the noun. As in English, when a noun ends in a vowel, to make the plural form, you only need to add -s to the singular noun (e.g., un/el libro –> unos/los libros). If a noun ends in a consonant, you need to add -es (e.g., una/la universidad –> unas/las universidades).