Gender of Nouns in Spanish: Masculine and Feminine

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Gender of Nouns in Spanish.

Every noun in Spanish has a gender: masculine or feminine.

There are no absolute rules to know the gender of a noun when you see it for the first time. However, there are some general guidelines to guess its gender, with a high probability of success, by looking at how it ends.

In this lesson we will learn those simple guidelines, and also comment on how the gender of a noun has an influence on other words in the sentence.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and an Exercise for practice.

Guidelines to guess the gender of nouns in Spanish

When trying to guess the gender of a noun, look at its ending. If the noun ends in “-o”, “-a” or “-dad”, you can apply the following guidelines. Remember: they are not rules, the don’t work 100% of the time, but they work most of the times:

Words ending in “-o” tend to be masculine

Examples: el dinero, el supermercado, el kiosco, el barco, el océano, el milagro…

Some exceptions: la mano, la radio, la foto, la moto… 

Words ending in “-a” tend to be feminine

Examples: la mesa, la música, la guitarra, la cabeza, la filosofía…

Some exceptions: el problema, el tema, el idioma, el clima, el fantasma, el día, el planeta, el mapa…

Words ending in “-dad” are almost always feminine

Examples: la habilidad, la edad, la capacidad, la bondad, la sinceridad, la maldad….

Influence of a noun’s gender in other words of the sentence

In any sentence, articles and adjectives need to match the gender and number of the noun they are connected to.

Example:

El niño pequeño está contento.
The small child is happy.

If we make the same sentence about a girl instead of a boy, all articles and adjectives connected to the girl need to match the feminine gender:

La niña pequeña está contenta.
The small girl is happy.

Practice the gender of nouns in Spanish

Quiz

Take a short Quiz and try to guess the gender of several nouns!:

Exercise

In the following sentences, fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper, choosing between the options in brackets. Then check the solutions below:

___ 1.(El/La) verdad es que ___ 2.(el/la) italiano es un idioma muy ___ 3.(bonito/bonita).

En ___ 4.(el/la) escuela, ___ 5.(el/la) profesora de español es muy ___ 6.(simpático/simpática), pero también es ___ 7.(duro/dura).

___ 8.(El/La) perro de mi amigo es muy cariñoso.

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = La, 2 = el, 3 = bonito, 4 = la, 5 = la, 6 = simpática, 7 = dura, 8 = El

If you like us, Like Us!