HomeQ&AWhy is it el agua not la agua ?

Why is it el agua not la agua ?


Why is it, since agua ends in an 'a' and it should be a feminine noun. For feminine nouns, I thought we should put la in front of it? And if the noun does not end in 'a' or 'o', then is it true that it is considered as a masculine noun automatically ?

updated JUL 16, 2010
posted by KaylaMeow
Becuase Spanish is messed up. - epicfail, JUL 16, 2010

3 Answers


It is under special rule when the substitution of el for la takes place only when it comes immediately before a singular noun that begins with a stressed a- or ha-. A few examples:

el agua (the water) el ama de casa (the housewife) el asma (asthma) el arca (the ark) el hambre (hunger) el hampa (the underworld) el arpa (the harp) el águila (the eagle)

updated JUL 17, 2010
posted by cassy_123
Thanks for the examples! - LateToDinner, JUL 16, 2010

Hi Kayla

This question has been asked many times before, please do a search before posting a question.

El agua, el agua, el agua el agua.

updated JUL 16, 2010
posted by --Jen--
Jen, do you think perhaps we need a larger, more obvious S E A R C H box? - Yeser007, JUL 16, 2010
That would be great, maybe we could make it neon and flashing? - --Jen--, JUL 16, 2010
I agree. We could put it above the "ask a question" box. - --Mariana--, JUL 16, 2010
Or maybe have it automatically open when someone clicks Ask a Question. - LateToDinner, JUL 16, 2010

To answer your other question:

No, gender is not assigned by default. There are patterns for recognizing gender, but most of the patterns have exceptions. The are invariable nouns that have the same form whether referring to either sex and just the definite article changes (el artista, la artista).

The only sure way to know the gender of a noun is to learn it when you learn the noun or consult a dictionary.

updated JUL 16, 2010
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
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