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Quick answer
"Primero" is an adjective which is often translated as "first", and "primera" is a noun which is also often translated as "first". Learn more about the difference between "primero" and "primera" below.
primero(
pree
-
meh
-
roh
)
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (position)
a. first
Los países se enumeran en la primera fila de la tabla.The countries are listed in the first row of the table.
2. (in time)
a. first
El partido se canceló tras el primer tiempo.The match was canceled after the first half.
3. (principal)
a. main
Nuestro primer objetivo es reducir gastos.Our main objective is to reduce expenses.
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
4. (in a series)
a. first
Primero oí la explosión y luego vi el fuego.First I heard the explosion and then I saw the fire.
5. (indicating preference)
a. rather
Primero me muero antes de montar esa montaña rusa.I'd rather die than go on that roller coaster.
This means that the noun can be masculine or feminine, depending on the gender of person it refers to (e.g. el doctor, la doctora).
6. (indicating superiority)
a. the best
Era el primero en matemáticas en séptimo grado.I was the best in mathematics in seventh grade.
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primera(
pree
-
meh
-
rah
)
A feminine noun is almost always used with feminine articles and adjectives (e.g. la mujer bonita, la luna llena).
1. (automobile)
a. first
Para empezar a avanzar, hay que poner el pie en el embrague y meter la primera.To start moving forward, you have to put your foot on the clutch and put it in first.
b. first gear
El tráfico es tan denso que no salí de primera por más de un kilómetro.The traffic is so heavy that I didn't get out of first gear for more than a kilometer.
2. (transportation)
a. first class
Viajar en primera en el autobús solo cuesta un poco más, pero es mucho más cómodo.Traveling in first class on the bus only costs a little bit more, but it's much more comfortable.
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