Hacking Spanish! – Gender of Nouns

Hacking Spanish! – Gender of Nouns

Masculine Feminine
el chico

la chica

el jardín

la universidad

el libro

la revista

el miedo

la libertad

 The idea that nouns have gender seems perfectly natural when the noun stands for a living creature.  This is because in English, living creatures often have different names, depending upon whether they are male or female.
Masculine  Feminine
man woman
tiger tigress
aviator aviatrix
The following Spanish nouns all denote living creatures.
male cat
el gato
female cat
la gata
male dog
el perro
female dog
la perre
el chico
la chica
el abuelo
la abuela

Hint: “El” and “la” both mean “the.” They’re are called “definite articles.”

el chico (the boy)
la chica (the girl)

el perro (the male dog)
la gata (the female cat)
Masculine – Feminine
gato - gata

perro - perra

chico - chica

abuelo - abuela
 Nouns that end in -o are usually masculine.  
Nouns that end in -a are usually feminine.  
Notice the word usually! 
 One cannot predict the gender of a noun that stands for a non-living thing. Try to predict whether the Spanish words for the following things are masculine or feminine:
Masculine or feminine?
 One cannot predict the gender of a noun, except in the case of living creatures. Do not try to analyze the nature of the object, looking for some inherent masculinity or femininity. It won’t work!
 Take a guess. Do you think the Spanish word for “dress” is masculine or feminine? You might expect it to be feminine, since a dress is an article of clothing worn by females.
 Actually, the word for “dress” is a masculine word:
el vestido
 When you learn a new noun, you should also learn its definite article (el, la). There are several reasons for this:
  1. Because you cannot predict the gender of most nouns.
  2. Because not every noun that ends in -o is masculine, and not every noun that ends in -a is feminine.
  3. Because many nouns end in letters other than o or a.
  4. Because the definite article (el, la) is your clue as to whether a noun is masculine or feminine.
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