Masculine and Feminine Nouns
The fact that inanimate objects have a gender in Spanish does not mean that things like tables and books are physically feminine or masculine. They have genders in a grammatical sense and must be used with articles and adjectives that match their gender.
There are a few general rules you can follow to determine if a noun is feminine or masculine.
Most masculine nouns end in o. An o ending can indicate that a person or animal is male or that an object, idea, etc. is grammatically masculine.
Masculine Nouns that End in O
Masculine Nouns that Don't End in O
Words that end in the following letters or letter combinations are often masculine:
- an accented vowel (á, é, í, ó, ú)
- a consonant other than d, z
The table below show examples of masculine words with the endings listed above.
Borrowing From Greek!
A lot of nouns that end in -ma, -pa, and -ta are masculine because they are Greek in origin.
The following nouns are exceptions to the above rules and are feminine, not masculine.
|Words Ending in o||Words Ending in e||Words Ending in Consonants Besides d or z|
Most feminine nouns end in a. Ending in an a indicates that a person or animal is female or that an object, idea, etc. is grammatically feminine.
Feminine Nouns that End in A
Feminine Nouns that Don't End in A
Nouns that end in in d, z, or -ión are also feminine.
|d||la felicidad(happiness), la virtud(virtue), la salud(health)|
|z||la paz(peace), la nariz(nose), la luz(light)|
|-ión||la canción(song), la religión(religion), la irritación(irritation)|
The following nouns are exceptions to the above rules and are masculine, not feminine.
|Words Ending in a||Words Ending in d||Words Ending in z||Words Ending in -ión|
Gender and Adjectives
Spanish adjectives must match the nouns they describe in both gender and number. For example, apples (manzanas) are feminine in Spanish, so this word must be used with feminine articles like la, las, and una. Any adjective used to describe an apple in Spanish must also be feminine (for example roja). On the other hand, bananas (plátanos) are masculine, and must be used with masculine articles and adjectives.