Mar

1
vote

Hi,

I do know already that 'la mar' and 'el mar' are both correct, but still unsure as to when 'la' or 'el' are used.

Thank you!

2189 views
updated SEP 5, 2010
posted by Pete-HKK

9 Answers

0
votes

Neil Coffey said:

.With words like agua, aula, usage appears to fall much squarely in favour of e.g. en esta aula, el agua dura.
Please expand. In the example that you give "dura" seems to me to be a simple 3rd person singular, present tense of "durar".

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by samdie
0
votes

Arguably, the case of azúcar is different to the general case of words beginning with stressed a like aula, in that there's much more concensus that the latter words are "basically feminine".

What's interesting about the word azúcar is that it appears to be made masculine much more readily. (There's also a regional, and possibly register, difference: in Mexico and possibly other parts of Latin America, for example, speakers would pretty much always say el azúcar morena, whereas as far as I can tell, in Spain it is more common to say el azúcar moreno.) With words like agua, aula, usage appears to fall much squarely in favour of e.g. en esta aula, el agua dura.

Miguel said:

To Neil Coffey: Wow, nice explanation. You are right about everything.

This word is difficult, it's like azúcar (sugar), it is both masculine and feminine, depending on the context you should use one way or the other.

As a curiosity, there are some words as "agua", "aula" or "águila" which are feminine and we use "el":

El agua.

El aula.

El águila.

>

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by Neil-Coffey
0
votes

Heidita said:

In Spain sailors or fishermen always use the feminine form of the word: la mar
That's what I learned too but a few others that appear in the site's dictionary sound distinctly "nautical" to me (despite the fact that they're using "el mar").e.g. "mar abierto".

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by samdie
0
votes

Miguel said:

To Neil Coffey:Wow, nice explanation. You are right about everything.This word is difficult, it's like azúcar (sugar), it is both masculine and femenine, depending on the context you should use one way or the other.As a curiosity, there are some words as "agua", "aula" or "águila" which are femenine and we use "el":El agua.El aula.El águila.


We use the masculine singular with many words that begin with "a", because of the difficulty in saying the "a" in la and the first letter of the word. However, I have learned that such words in the plural use the feminine plural definite article. el agua ~~~ las aguas.

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by Kathleen
0
votes

To Neil Coffey:
Wow, nice explanation. You are right about everything.

This word is difficult, it's like azúcar (sugar), it is both masculine and feminine, depending on the context you should use one way or the other.

As a curiosity, there are some words as "agua", "aula" or "águila" which are feminine and we use "el":

El agua.
El aula.
El águila.

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by Miguel
0
votes

In Spain sailors or fishermen always use the feminine form of the word: la mar

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

I agree! I have always used 'el mar', and cannot ever remember using 'la mar', though I know both to be correct!

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by Pete-HKK
0
votes

In addition to what Neil has said, I have seen "la mar" used in poetical contexts. But I agree that mar is generally masculine. Here in California there are hundreds of place names that include "del mar."

Does anyone know the historical reason for the ambiguous sexuality of this noun'

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

I'd be interested to hear what people from different regions say about this, but my observation would be:
- essentially, the word is masculine in everyday usage
- there are some nautical terms and set expressions where it tends to be feminine, e.g. Google cites 63% se echó a la mar vs 37% se echó al mar; as far as I'm aware, people basically always say en alta mar rather than 'en alto mar.
- there are some compounds always based on the word being feminine (bajamar)
- it's feminine in the expression la mar de ... meaning "tons of ...", "a whole load of ..."

updated ENE 19, 2009
posted by Neil-Coffey