el agua is feminine not masculine ?

el agua is feminine not masculine ?


They said that EL is for the definite article for masculine words, right? Why do we say el agua when agua ends with A which means that it is feminine? Should we not have to say LA AGUA? Please answer.

updated JUN 30, 2010
edited by peregrinamaria
posted by RuZa
Hi rula7. It is important to use correct grammar, spelling and punctuation on this website, as it is a language-learning site. I hope that you do not mind but I edited your question to reflect this. - peregrinamaria, JUN 29, 2010

3 Answers


Even "agua" ends in "a", it is not a female name, you have to remember to use "el" like the article : el agua. the same is for paragua (umbrella) it ends in "a" but you have to say "el paragua", You will learn a lot of words, while you are studying. good look

updated SEP 25, 2010
posted by imselec
Even "though" "agua" ends in an "a", it is not a feminine noun. Therefore, you have to remember to use the article "el", "el agua". - peregrinamaria, JUN 29, 2010
The same is true for "paragua" (umbrella); although it ends in "a", you have to say "el paragua". - peregrinamaria, JUN 29, 2010
"Good luck". - peregrinamaria, JUN 29, 2010
But paraguas is masculine because it one of those combined words that describes what something does. Los paraguas paran las aguas. All such combination function-describing words are masculine. - MacFadden, JUN 29, 2010
Like el lavaplatos, el rompecabezas, and el salvavidas. - MacFadden, JUN 29, 2010
This is incorrect. Agua is always feminine, it just uses the masculine article in the singular. - MacFadden, JUN 29, 2010
Imselec, you have accepted the wrong answer. This may confuse other users and learners. You must un-accept this answer and accept either MacFadden or Deanski's answers, which are the correct ones. - Gekkosan, JUN 30, 2010

Hello, and welcome to the forum. I have to disagree with imselec. Agua is always feminine, but it uses the masculine article in the singular because it begins with the letter A and the first syllable is accented, and if it were preceded by la it would sound like lagua. It is feminine even when it uses a masculine article, and any adjectives that modify it must always be feminine. For example, you would say el agua clara and not el agua claro. It revers to using the feminine article in the plural: las aguas, but it never changes gender.

updated SEP 25, 2010
edited by MacFadden
posted by MacFadden
MacFadden is, of course, absolutely right. Hasn't this question been discussed to death already? Imselect, if you do a search for "agua" you will find several dozen threads on this very subject. - Gekkosan, JUN 29, 2010

Agua is indeed feminine, but it uses a masculine article. Same thing with el aguila (eagle), el ave (bird). Reason behind this is that it is hard for the Spanish tongue to pronounce the noun with the article "la" if the noun starts with "a," hence the article "el" is used instead. Stress is key, though, since if the stress doesn't fall on the first letter "a" & the noun ends with -a, "la" is still used (ex: la arruga).

Be careful, there are a lot of nouns that end in -a that are masculine (el tema, el idioma, el programa, etc.), & there is one (that I know of) that ends in -o that are feminine (la mano).

Hope this helps.

updated JUN 29, 2010
edited by Deanski
posted by Deanski
Oops, my answer's late, & Gekko's right, this has been discussed before in past threads. - Deanski, JUN 29, 2010
Good answer. Just for everyone's information, any Spanish word that ends in -ma and comes from Greek is masculine. - MacFadden, JUN 29, 2010
Right.. & I agree w/ you that agua is ALWAYS feminine. - Deanski, JUN 29, 2010
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.