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2 Vote

Bonjour !
This is my first message on this forum as I started the course 2 days ago.
I speak french but I ask my question in english :
Why do we say "el agua" as the final letter is feminin ? I suppose it should be "la agua"? but even in french, we have some exceptions which are really boring !!! Thank you in advance for your answer.

  • Posted Apr 17, 2009
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32 Answers

5 Vote

Bienvenue!

A feminine noun that starts with A or HA and is stressed on the first syllable takes the masculine article in the singular form.

el agua, las aguas
el hacha, las hachas

3 Vote

What about 'hache'? Is it "la hache" like "la ce", "la eme", and all other letters of the alphabet, or does it still fall under your phonetic rule?

Excellent question. I had never thought about it, but it is indeed an exception to this rule. I have no idea why the rule is not applied to it. Maybe someone can enlighten us. As far as I know (which isn't really all that far), this is the only exception to the rule, and this seems to be confirmed by some googling just now.

Mark Baker wrote:

So if there was a need to write 'Good Water? in the singular it would be 'buen? since agua is a singular masculine noun and then changes to 'bueno? for the plural, since the plural aguas is a feminine plural noun? Is that right?

Agua is not a masculine noun, it is a regular feminine noun. The only thing that changes is that the articles el and un and the indefinites algún and ningún proceed such nouns in masculine form. This is done for the purpose of euphony only. Agua is feminine in all of its forms.

Words that are not stressed on the first syllable do not fall under this rule: la alhambra, la harina, la acné.

Also, the article goes back to being feminine if there is an adjective between it and the noun: la cristalina agua, la tremenda hambre (but "el hambre").

  • This is great. Thank you. - LeslieW Feb 10, 2010 flag
2 Vote

With regards to el agua, the el does not have a tilde on the "e" unlike él other definate articles.

Actually "él" means "he"; the article "el" never takes the accent.

And by the way the tilde is the little squishy thing (~), the one that goes on top of ñ. What goes on top of vowels is called the "acute accent".

1 Vote

What about "la águila"? If the rule has exceptions then it does not help at all.

It's not an exception, and it should be "el águila."

1 Vote

Hey Beethoven, I was taught it was called the "acute accent" in French many years ago .....and the other is the "grave" accent

There's also the circumflex accent (â), the umlaut (ä), the cedilla (ç)... but anglophones can be forgiven for not knowing much about all this nonsense smile

1 Vote

As far as I know (which isn't really all that far), this is the only exception to the rule, and this seems to be confirmed by some googling just now.

According to B&B, there are a few others: Women's names (la Ana, la Ángela), la aya, la haz, la Haya, la árabe, la ácrata, and abbreviations (la AUF).

Saludos smile

0 Vote

What about "la águila"? If the rule has exceptions then it does not help at all.

0 Vote

James, you are amazing!

What about "la mano"? Is there some rule for "femininizing" nouns ending in 'o'?

No, that word is just an exception, as are words such as día. I think those exceptions can be traced back to Latin. But they are different in that the exception has nothing to do with sound, whereas "el agua" is all about sound, and is therefore more closely related to rules such as saying "guapo e inteligente."

0 Vote

James, you are amazing!

What about "la mano"? Is there some rule for "femininizing" nouns ending in 'o'?

No, that word is just an exception, as are words such as día.

After I wrote my post I remembered about "la águila" and took away my compliments smile If a rule for making exceptions also has exceptions then it seems easier to me just to memorize the exceptions.

It's still interesting though.

0 Vote

It's not an exception, and it should be "el águila."

OK, you're still amazing smile

What about 'hache'? Is it "la hache" like "la ce", "la eme", and all other letters of the alphabet, or does it still fall under your phonetic rule'

0 Vote

With regards to el agua, the el does not have a tilde on the "e" unlike él other definate articles.

0 Vote

What about "la águila"? If the rule has exceptions then it does not help at all.

The author of this article agrees with James. It is el águila.

http://spanish.about.com/b/2006/01/06/why-el-agua-instead-of-la-agua.htm

I think we've had the discussion about what a tilde is before.

tilde.

(De tildar).

  1. amb. Virgulilla o rasgo que se pone sobre algunas abreviaturas, el que lleva la ñ, y cualquier otro signo que sirva para distinguir una letra de otra o denotar su acentuación. U. m. en f.

  2. amb. p. us. Tacha, nota denigrativa.

  3. f. Cosa mínima.

Real Academia Española © Todos los derechos reservados

0 Vote

Bienvenue!

A feminine noun that starts with A or HA and is stressed on the first syllable takes the masculine article in the singular form.

el agua, las aguas

el hacha, las hachas

Marielle Sulmoni, another thing to note is that the adjective must be feminine whether the noun is singular or plural.

For example:

El agua clara
El agua sucia

And the reason that it is el agua instead of la agua is because el agua flows off the tongue better. It is an aesthetic thing.

0 Vote

[del]Hey Beethoven, I was taught it was called the "acute accent" in French many years ago .....and the other is the "grave" accent jejeje.

So if there was a need to write "Good Water" in the singular it would be "buen" since agua is a singular masculine noun and then changes to "bueno" for the plural, since the plural aguas is a feminine plural noun? Is that right'[/del]

0 Vote

The author of this article agrees with James. It is el águila.

My apologies, I was confused. I always thought "agua" was masculine and "águila" was feminine. In fact both are feminine nouns that fall under the rule.

I think we've had the discussion about what a tilde is before.

I'm new here so forgive me if I'm being redundant, but the word "tilde" means different things in English and Spanish. What I said is correct in English, and what you said is correct in Spanish.

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