Masculine and Feminine Nouns
The fact that inanimate objects have a gender in Spanish does not mean that things like tables and books are physically feminine or masculine. They have genders in a grammatical sense and must be used with articles and adjectives that match their gender.
There are a few general rules you can follow to determine if a noun is feminine or masculine.
Most masculine nouns end in o. An o ending can indicate that a person or animal is male or that an object, idea, etc. is grammatically masculine.
Masculine Nouns that End in o
Masculine Nouns that Don't End in o
Words that end in the following letters or letter combinations are often masculine:
- an accented vowel (á, é, í, ó, ú)
- a consonant other than d, z
The table below show examples of masculine words with the endings listed above.
Borrowing From Greek!
A lot of nouns that end in -ma, -pa, and -ta are masculine because they are Greek in origin.
The following nouns are exceptions to the above rules and are feminine, not masculine.
|Words Ending in o||Words Ending in e||Words Ending in Consonants Besides d or z|
Most feminine nouns end in a. Ending in an a indicates that a person or animal is female or that an object, idea, etc. is grammatically feminine.
Feminine Nouns that End in a
Feminine Nouns that Don't End in a
Nouns that end in in d, z, or -ión are also feminine.
|d||la felicidad (happiness), la virtud (virtue), la salud (health)|
|z||la paz (peace), la nariz (nose), la luz (light)|
|-ión||la canción (song), la religión (religion), la irritación (irritation)|
The following nouns are exceptions to the above rules and are masculine, not feminine.
|Words Ending in a||Words Ending in d||Words Ending in z||Words Ending in -ión|
Gender and Adjectives
Spanish adjectives must match the nouns they describe in both gender and number. For example, apples (manzanas ) are feminine in Spanish, so this word must be used with feminine articles like la , las , and una . Any adjective used to describe an apple in Spanish must also be feminine (for example roja ). On the other hand, bananas (plátanos ) are masculine, and must be used with masculine articles and adjectives.