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Definite Articles in Spanish

Definite Articles in Spanish

Quick Answer

Definite articles are used to talk about specific nouns. Spanish has four definite articles: el , la , los , and las .

In Spanish, nouns don't like to be alone, so they are often accompanied by articles! Spanish articles indicate the gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) of a noun, as well as whether or not a noun is a specific noun (definite or indefinite).

There are four definite articles in Spanish, and they often all translate to the same little word in English: the. There are also cases where they don't have a direct English translation, but help to indicate the gender and number of a noun.

Definite Article Forms:

Here are the four forms that Spanish definite articles take.

NumberGenderForm
singularmasculine
el
 
singularfeminine
la
 
pluralmasculine
los
 
pluralfeminine
las
 

Matching Gender and Number

A definite article always has to match both the gender and number of its noun.

  • If the noun is feminine and singular (like salsa ), then the article also has to be feminine and singular (la salsa ).
  • If that same noun is plural (like salsas ) the article is also plural (las salsas ).

Check out these examples with the different definite articles in Spanish.

El libro está en el escritorio.
The book is on the desk.
 
La literatura española es muy interesante.
Spanish literature is very interesting.
 
Me gusta ir al cine los viernes.
I like to go to the movie theater on Fridays.
 
Son las cinco y cuarto de la tarde.
It is five fifteen in the afternoon.
 

Exceptions

When a feminine singular noun begins with a stressed a or ha sound, the masculine definite article is used instead of the feminine definite article.

When the same noun is plural, the regular feminine article is used.

Check out these examples of feminine words that take the masculine singular article (el) in the singular, but the feminine plural article (las) in the plural.

SingularPluralEnglish
el águila
 
las águilas
 
the eagle(s)
el alma
 
las almas
 
the soul(s)
el agua
 
las aguas
 
the water(s)
el hacha
 
las hachas
 
the axe(s)

Want to learn more? Check out our articles on definite article uses and indefinite articles.

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