How do I know if a noun is masculine or feminine?

A crash course in noun gender...

 

Spanish is very kind in that it's usually easy to work out whether a noun is masculine or feminine.

If it ends in an it is masculine.

If it ends in an it is feminine.

E.g. Mundo (world), Trabajo (job), Perro (dog) are all masculine, and Casa (house), Palabra (word), Hora (hour) are all feminine.

 

We use the article El for a masculine noun, and La for a feminine noun. (this is why, when you learn a new noun, you should always write the article next to it - e.g. write 'la casa' not just 'casa'.)

 

If a word ends in another letter, for example Mujer (woman) or País (country), it could be either.

There are lots of patterns to look out for - e.g. nouns ending in 'ión' like Opinión (opinion) and Construcción (building/construction) tend to be feminine.

Sometimes you can work out whether it's masculine or feminine from what it is e.g. Hombre (man) is a masculine noun.

Here are a few examples:

Questión (question) = feminine

Madre (mother) = feminine

Ciudad (city) = feminine

Aire (air) = masculine

Arte (art) = masculine

País (country) = masculine

 

There are, of course, some irregulars, where the noun ends in an O but is feminine, or ends in an A but is masculine:

La mano (hand) = feminine

El programa (programme) = masculine

El día (day) = masculine

El problema (problem) = Masculine

 

Some nouns can take either an O or an A at the end to mean either, for example Niño (child) can be Niño for a boy or Niña for a girl.

Answered by Floss T. Spanish tutor

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