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What is a noun?  What do you already know about nouns in Spanish?  How are they treated differently from nouns in English?

Ever since you started your study of Spanish, you noted that there was an "el, la, los or las" before nouns, ¿verdad?  Everything in Spanish is either masculine or femenine.  How can this be for inanimate objects?  I don't know either.

This unit will be a review of what you already know, and it will also go into great detail about some things you do not yet know, but really need to master if you have a desire to communicate at the higher levels.  The following is a brief list of what will be covered in this section.
 

I suggest you take good notes as you read- there is a lot here and it will require some serious study to learn these rules and their exceptions.


The Gender of Nouns

As we already know, all nouns in Spanish are either masculine or feminine.  Why?...  I have no idea.  The idea is foreign to me, because I grew up with English as my native language, as did you most likely.  But, this is important to know, because you must use the correct forms of articles and adjectives when describing these nouns, so if you make a mistake in the gender of a noun, you will also most likely err when using the article and adjective.  Hopefully you have been learning words with their articles.  For example, is it "el" or "la" libro?  "el" or "la" mesa?  And what if you wanted to buy some paper in a store.  Would you ask "¿Dónde está el papel?" or "¿Dónde está la papel?" ? Of course you learned "el papel", so this comes out naturally.  Now, what about "mano"?  Do you say "Levanta el mano." or "Levanta la mano."?  (The answer is "la";  I hope you got it correct.)

But, what happens when you come across a word you don't know?  Well, if you take any advanced exams- AP, SAT II, College Entrance, etc. - you will see words you do not know.  If you continue your study, or travel extensively you will also come across words you do not know.  So let's look at the rules that are used to determine the gender of a noun.  First we'll look at nouns in general that do not refer to people- they are a little different and will be examined later.



Words ending in.....

The gender of many words can be determined by looking at the ending.  the following is a summary- with notable exceptions- of the rules that you can follow.

O

Words ending in "o" are generally masculine.  There are some exceptions, however: This is a lot to decipher, but it is part of the language that is tested heavily on AP, SAT II and some colege entrance exams.  Plus, if you want to speak an accurate Spanish, you should know this.  Pues, ¡Vamos a practicar!
Normally, I don't like translation activities.  But for this it makes a lot of sense because you have to differentiate the languages.  So translate the underlined section of each sentence.
Mr. Rodríguez es mi profesor de matemáticas.
Me gusta mucho comer ice cream in the summer.
Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, es una ciudad bastante pequeña.
Me limpio my teeth dos veces a day.
No salimos hasta four-thirty.
Me gustan las actividades de "Sir" (don) Carlos.
Me interesa biology.
El concierto fue on Wednesday.
Lo vi on the way a la casa de Juana.
Estamos estudiando America del siglo veinte.
Fruits and vegetables son buenos para health.
Ella habla bien Portuguese.
E perdió his jacket.
¿Te gusta pizza?
Spring es mi estación favorita.
Mr. Holman, the author of this page, pasó mucho tiempo creándola.
¿Hay un programa interesante en TV?
Siempre voy a la playa en the summer.
Doctor Menéndez me dijo que le llamara después de tomar la medicina.
¿Dónde está the cold water?
Es mejor in the long run.
Trabajo on Fridays después de las clases.
Ellos hablan perfectamente Japanese.
Go check.

Last part!!!!

The uses of the indefinite articles

The indefinite articles is omitted in Spanish frequently when it is used in English.  Here are the rules:
 

¡Hay que practicar!

Complete the sentences with the correct indefinite article, if one is necessary.  If you don't need one, write an "X".
 

1.    Mi padre es......abogado.
2.    Mi madre es ......doctora magnífica.
3.    Ellos son.....protestantes.
4.    ¿Tiene alguien.....libro?
5.    Ganaron...mil dólares.
6.    Nunca oí tal...mentira.
7.    Habló con ... cierto hombre que le dijo el secreto.
8.    Hidalgo y Allende son .... mexicanos famosos.
9.    ¿Puedes mostrarme ...otro suéter azul?
10.  Es... músico talentoso.
11.  Compraron ... cien libros.

Check how you did.
 

Now it's time for more practice.  Go to these links at Study Spanish.com and practice what we've studied.  Do the activities and take the tests for each unit.
 

Definite and Indefinite Articles: Part I
Definite Articles: Part II

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

        Respuestas

¿masculino o femenino?
f
m
f
m
f
f
m
f
f
m
f
m
f
f
m
m
f
f
m
f
f
m
f
f
m
f
f
m
m
f
m
f
f
m
m
f
la forma femenina
mujer
gallina
doña
alemana
actriz
chica
mujer/ esposa
artista
emperatriz
hembra
bailarina
poetisa
escultora
atleta
reina
princesa
rusa
madre
ladrona
modelo
presidente/ presidenta
abuelita
capitana
joven
cliente/ clienta
persona
vaca
francesa
hija
bebé
(but remember- there is no true femenine form of this!)
Países:  the aí without an accent would form a dipthong like "eye", so the "i" must remain accented to keep the syllables separate and keep the integrity of the pronunciation.
La forma plural
peces
limones
espejos
cafés
atlas
ingleses
lápices
exámenes
abrelatas
países
placas
meses
lunes
crisis
franceses
jóvenes
parabrisas
voces
orígenes
búsquedas
alfombrillas
árboles
volcanes
cicatrices
capitanes

The correct Definite article:
 

el radio, el mapa, la vacación, el cine, la organización, la clase, el papel, la moto, la certidumbre, el calambre, la naturaleza, el arte, la verdad, la niñez, el (los) lavaplatos, el planeta, la muchedumbre, la mujer, el telegrama, el agua, la cama, el problema, el tranvía, la ciudad, el día, la luz, la nariz, el comer, el rey, la hazaña, el (los) viernes, la serie, el ala, el drama, el (los) abrelatas, las artes


 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Definite article translations

El señor Rodríguez,  el helado en (el- if it is not implied that it is done every summer) verano, captial de Paraguay, los dientes...el día, las cuatro y media,  don Carlos,  la biología,  el miércoles,  en camino,  la América, Las frutas y los vegetales... la salud,  el portugués,  la chaqueta,  la pizza, La primavera, El señor Holman, autor de esta página, la televisión (la tele),  verano,  El docotor/ La doctora,  el agua fría,  a largo plazo,  los viernes

Indefinite Articles:
1. X,2. una,3. X,4. X,5. X,6. X,7. X,8. unos,9. X,10. un,11.  X