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.


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


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


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

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