Irregular use of El and La

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Can anyone give me a general list of the irregular usage of El and La like: El sistema, El agua, La mano ect.....? That's all.

1611 views
updated OCT 9, 2008
posted by Christinita

5 Answers

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Lazarus said:

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There is no rule that says that all words ending in -a are feminine

{gripe}

Can someone please tell the textbook writers this? (Not that specifically, but to stop presenting "rules" which really are not such.) I mean the people who write high-school texts used in the states. It seems like I am constantly unlearning things I thought I "knew" on this forum. Shouldn't the people who write textbooks know enough about the Spanish language to avoid basic mistakes'''

updated OCT 9, 2008
posted by Natasha
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samdie said:

There is no "general rule". What you have is the observation/"rule of thumb" that most nouns ending in "a" are feminine and most nouns ending in "o" are masculine. In either case it's most not all.

I've got statistical figures to backup my claim:

Words ending in -o are almost surely masculine (exceptions are very rare, and can be explained)
Words ending in -a are just likely to be feminine (there are too many exceptions, but most can be grouped together)

updated OCT 9, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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There is no "general rule". What you have is the observation/"rule of thumb" that most nouns ending in "a" are feminine and most nouns ending in "o" are masculine. In either case it's most not all.

updated OCT 9, 2008
posted by samdie
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um.... if your prepared to wait untill tomorrow...
jk
not off of the top of my head
if you give me what you need it for i might be able of help!

updated OCT 9, 2008
posted by bubbleshihi
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Irregular is all a matter of perspective.

There is no rule that says that all words ending in -a are feminine, I am afraid, specially Greek words. The word "sistema" doesn't have a Y, by the way.

The word "mano" is a particularly unusual exception, but there could be about a thousand words ending in -a which are not necessarily feminine, so don't rely on this rule. Surely you don't expect the full list here, right?

The word "agua" is feminine anyway. Check previous threads about this word.

updated OCT 9, 2008
posted by lazarus1907