agua is a feminine noun but, 'el' seems to be used.
Why is 'agua' stated as a feminine noun in SpanishDict dictionary but, I always see "el" used with agua?
Eric: Most of the examples you gave are of words of Greek origin ending in -ma, -pa, or -ta that use "el" and "los" in all forms (el problema, los problemas, el sistema, los sistemas, etc.)
What was being discussed above was the use of "el" with words that begin with a stressed "a" or "ha" sound, such as "agua" and "águila". These words are FEMININE, so they are modified by feminine adjectives (el agua fría, el águila bonita), replaced by "la" as a DOP, etc. The only reason that they use "el" in their singular form is to avoid the difficulty (technically called a cacophony) of saying "la agua" or "la águila" very quickly (the a's would run into eachother.)
But also note, as Fred said, that if anything comes before the article and the noun, then "la" is used. So: "la mejor agua" and "la fantástica águila".
PS: Don't get confused with a word like "la habilidad". Though it begins with "ha" it is not the stressed part of the word; the "a" of "dad" is.
This is a response to a comment made on an earlier post in this thread. I decided to post this is an answer so that it wouldn't get lost. Anyway:
Fred said: Although, I don't see why you wrote "dámela" with an accent over the a. The chart at this site has the imperative form for "tú" as da.
- Aguda: Words whose stress fall on the last syllable. If an aguda ends in -n, -s, or a vowel, it must have a written accent.
- Grave: Words whose stress fall on the penultimate syllable. If a grave ends in a consonant other than -n or -s, it must have a written accent.
- Esdrújula: Words whose stress falls on the third to last syllabe. Esdrújulas always require a written accent.
Now, in "da-me-la" the natural stress falls on the "a" of "da"; "da" is the third to last syllable, thus, "damela", as a whole, is an esdrújula, which always require a written accent. So, an accent goes over the a, making it "dámela". (Notice that command forms of only 1 syllable like haz, ten, di, da, etc. only require a written accent if 2 pronouns are attached. In "dime" the natural stress falls on the penultimate syllable, "di" and since "dime" ends in a vowel (not a consonant other than -n or -s) then no written accent is needed.)
I hope this helps you. Please, anyone feel free to correct me if I said anything incorrectly.
There are a few of them like that.... Here is a list
El idoma El agua El sistema El día El tema El vodka
Welcome to the forum.
Aguda: Words whose stress fall on the last syllable. If an aguda ends in -n, -s, or a vowel, it must have a written accent. Grave: Words whose stress fall on the penultimate syllable. If a grave ends in a consonant other than -n or -s, it must have a written accent. Esdrújula: Words whose stress falls on the third to last syllabe. Esdrújulas always require a written accent.
Wow! I love grammar terms. Let me give you a simplier rule. The accent must fall on the syllable where it fell before you appended the pronouns. Therefore, the accent must be on the "a" in dámela. ayúdame dándonoslos escribirlo
Hi Incógnito. The reason el is used with agua is because of the a at the beginning of the word agua. However, do not be misled, when in the plural form it will be "las."
If the feminine noun begins with a stressed a or ha, the singular forms of the article used are el or un. If anything intercedes between these two items, use the normal la or una.
This site will help you better understand.
¡Vale Nick, Te doy las gracias!