Gender of Nouns in Spanish – Masculine and Feminine

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

There are no absolute rules for guessing a noun’s gender when you see it for the first time.

However, there are some guidelines that work most of the time. We will learn them in this lesson.

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

Guessing a noun’s gender

When trying to guess a noun’s gender, look at its ending.

The following table includes some of the most common endings, and the gender they usually (but not always) have:

Typical endings of masculine nounsTypical endings of feminine nouns
-o-a
-or-ción
-aje-sión
-dad
-ía
-itis
-za

Examples and exceptions

Let’s read examples (and exceptions) for each ending in the table above.

Typical endings of masculine nouns

-o

Examples: el dinero, el supermercado, el kiosco, el barco, el océano, el milagro…
Exceptions: la mano, la radio, la foto, la moto… 

-or

Examples: el amor, el color, el calor, el dolor, el exterior, el trabajador
Exceptions: la flor

aje

Examples: el coraje, el viaje, el equipaje


Typical endings of feminine nouns

-a

Examples: la mesa, la música, la guitarra, la cabeza, la filosofía…
Exceptions: el problema, el tema, el idioma, el clima…

ción

Examples: la atención, la información, la corrección, la nación

sión

Examples: la tensión, la presión, la pasión

-dad

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

ía

Examples: la poesía, la filosofía, la teoría, la energía
Exceptions: el día, el tranvía…

itis

Examples: la bronquitis, la otitis

za

Examples: la cabeza, la cerveza, la cereza, la pureza

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

If a noun has any articles or adjectives connected with it, they need to match the gender and number of the noun.

Example:

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

If we make that sentence about a girl instead, all articles and adjectives connected with “niña” need to match the feminine gender:

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

Practice

Quiz

Take a short Quiz about the gender of nouns in Spanish!:

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