Nouns are either masculine of femenine in Spanish. Sometimes to identify the gender in these nouns is not that obvious and the ending is an indication of grammatical gender. Most nouns ending in –a are femenine and most ending in –o are masculine. Besides, the masculine article el and the femenine article la are placed […]

Besides , the masculine article el and the femenine article la are placed before the nouns to indicate the gender. El and la are equivalent in English to the definite article the.


The following endings generally indicate the masculine:

  • Male beings ending –o :

 El cartero      mailman                    el general      general

El hombre     man                            el profesor   teacher/professor

  • Referring to animals, things or ideas ending in –o :

El año             year                el queso         cheese 

El caballo      horse             el zapato        shoe

  • Some nouns that end in –a are masculine with endings –ía, -ma, -ama,

-ema and  –oma :

El día              day                              el dilema       dilemma

El anagrama anagram                    el idioma       language

El aroma       fragance                    el poema       poem

El clima         climate                      el problema  problem

  • Nouns woth endings –ambre and –aje :

El calambre  cramp                          el alambre    wire

El equipaje    luggage                      el paisaje       landscape

El montaje    setting                        el personaje character

  • Nouns with endings –or and –án :

El amor         love                el refrán        proverb

El calor          heat                el rencor       hate


The following endings generally identify feminine nouns:

  • Female beings end in –a :

La enfermera nurse                          la profesora   professor

La hija                        daughter                    la yegua         mare

  • All other nouns ending –a :

La cocina       kitchen                                   la p elota         ball

La guitarra     guitar                          la piscina       pool

  • Nouns with endings –ción and –sión :

La canción     song                           la dirección    direction, address 

La división     division                      la estación     station, season

  • Nouns with endings -dad and –tad (in English ending –ty ):

La dificultad  difficulty                    la dignidad    dignity 

La ciudad       city                              la libertad       liberty

  • Nouns with endings –ie, -eza, -sis and –itis :

La crisis         crisis                           la serie                         serie

La dermatitis dermatitis                  la tesis                        thesis

La especie     species                       la tristeza       sadness

  • Most abstract ideas that end in –tud and –umbre :

La costumbre tradition                              la esclavitud   slavery

La cumbre     summit, mountaintop      la virtud          virtue


Some nouns do not fit into any of the previous groups:

  • Nouns ending in –e or in consonant that may be either feminine or masculine:

El cine                        movies                       la clas e          class

El examen     exam                          la cruz                       cross

  • Nouns of professions ending –a, -ante, -e or –ista that may be either feminine or masculine:

El/la atleta                athlete                        el/la periodista       journalist 

  • Nouns of professions, people or some animals that end in –és, -n, -ón and –or are masculine. They add –a to create femenine form:

El campeón/la campeona              champion

El director/la directora                principal

El león/la leona                               lion

  • Some nouns are spelled the same for the masculine and femenine and only the article changes:

El joven/la joven                             young man/woman

El modelo/la modelo                     male/female model

  • Nouns referring to people change both the ending and the article:

El muchacho/la muchacha                       boy/girl

El niño/la niña                                             boy/girl child

  • Feminine nouns that begin with a stressed a- or ha- take a masculine article for purposes of pronunciation:

El agua           water                         el aula            classroom

El alma          soul                            el hambre     hunger


  • Days of the week and months of the year
  • Colors
  • Infinitive used as nouns
  • Rivers, seas and oceans (except islands which are femenine)
  • Many trees
  • Languages

Some nouns referring to people or animals may have different forms for the masculine and femenine:

El actor/la actriz                 actor/actress

El caballo/la yegua             horse/mare

El conde/la condesa           count/countess

El heroe/la heroína                        heroe/heroine

Some nouns have different meaning if used with the masculine or the femenine article:

El capital/la capital                        capital (money)/capital (city)

El cometa/la cometa          comet/kite

El corte/la corte                  cut/court

El cura/la cura                    priest/cure

Next post, let´s see how to form singular and plural in spanish.

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