Gender of Nouns in Spanish: Masculine and Feminine

Every noun in Spanish has a gender: Masculine or Feminine.

There are some general guidelines which can help us guess the gender of a noun if we don’t know it yet.

In this lesson we will cover these points:

1. Some guidelines to guess the gender of a noun (with exceptions)


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 always FEMININE

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


2. Influence of the noun’s gender in other words of the sentence

In a 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, articles and adjectives need to match the feminine gender:

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


3. Practice: A Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge!:


4. Practice: An Exercise

In the following text, fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper, choosing between the options in brackets. Then check the solutions at the end of this post.

___ 1.(El/La) verdad es que ___ 2.(el/la) español 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). ___(El/La) último examen de español ha sido muy difícil.

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