PolyTripper - Spanish Articles
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Spanish Articles



Just like in English, Spanish has both definite and indefinite articles.


Definite Indefinite
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Masculine el los un unos
Feminine la las una unas
Neuter lo

Examples:

the tree: el árbol - the trees: los árboles
a
tree: un árbol - some trees: unos árboles


the door: la puerta - the doors: las puertas
a
door: una puerta - some doors: unas puertas

When studying Spanish, some people find it very stressful having to figure out whether a word is masculine or feminine. However, it's not that difficult! We'll give you some easy rules that will help you with most words.


Most words ending in -o are masculine


el niño - el año - el trabajo - el caso - el mundo - el tiempo - el músculo


Some Exceptions:

la mano - la foto - la moto

Note: foto is short for fotografía and moto is short for motocicleta


Most words ending in -a are feminine


la niña - la hora - la casa - la manzana - la barba - la cocina - la vida


Some Exceptions:

el sofá - el día - el mapa


words ending in -ma: el tema - el problema - el idioma

Note: in Spanish there are many words with both a male -o and a female -a ending.


Examples:

Family members: el hijo/la hija - el esposo/la esposa - el hermano/la hermana - el tío/la tía - el primo/la prima

Animals: el perro/la perra - el gato/la gata - el conejo/la coneja - el burro/la burra - el cerdo/la cerda

Jobs: el maestro/la maestra - el abogado/la abogada - el cocinero/la cocinera - el peluquero/la peluquera


Most words ending in -or, -ma, -ón and -an are masculine


el amor - el tema - el montón - el pan


Exception:

la flor


Most words ending in -zón, -ción, -sión, -d and -ez are feminine


la razón - la educación - la pasión - la mitad - la rapidez


Some Exceptions:

el corazón - el buzón


Note: there are words that stay the same both for the masculine and feminine version, only the article will change.


Examples:

el/la dentista - el/la futbolista - el/la taxista - el/la idiota - el/la guía - el/la amante - el/la cliente - el/la testigo


Note: some animals have a male and female version in Spanish.


Examples:

el gallo (rooster)/la gallina (hen), el carnero (ram)/la oveja (sheep), el caballo (stallion)/la yegua (mare)

Other animals don't have separate verions. For instance, you use la ardilla for both a male and a female squirrel and el búho for both a male and a female owl. For these animals, when you want to specify that you are talking about either a male or a female, you can add the word "hembra" to the female and "macho" to the male animal.


Examples:

A male squirrel: una ardilla macho


A female owl: un búho hembra.


The letters of the alphabet are feminine


Examples:

la A, la B, la C, la D, la E...


The months, days of the week, numbers and cardinal directions are masculine


Examples:

el enero, el febrero, el marzo, el abril, el mayo...


el lunes, el martes, el miércoles, el jueves, el viernes, el sábado, el domingo


el uno, el dos, el tres, el quatro, el cinco...


el sur, el este, el norte, el oeste


Note: there are some words that start with -a or -ha that are feminine, but receive the masculine articles "el" and "un" to help with pronunciation. It's difficult to say "la agua", without linking the words completely together, especially when spoken fast. However, these words are still feminine and are preceded by "las" and "unas" in their plural form.


Examples:

el agua - el alma - el asma - el habla - el hambre - el águila - el arpa


las aguas - las almas - las asmas - las hablas - las hambres - las águilas - las arpas

This is only valid for words where the emphasis falls on the first syllable. Words where the emphasis does not fall on the first syllable, will still be preceded by "la".


Examples:

la amiga - la almohada - la aguja



Many times, you use the indefinite and definite articles in Spanish the same way you would use them in English. However, there are some cases where you use them differently and we will highlight a couple of them.


Talking About Likes and Dislikes


In English, you do not use articles when you talk about liking or disliking a noun. In Spanish, you do need to use them.


Examples:

I like teddy bears. - Me gustan los osos de peluche.


He doesn't like clowns. - A él no le gustan los payasos.


She loves flowers. - Ella ama las flores.


My brother hates spinach. - Mi hermano odia las espinacas.


Talking about Jobs


In English, we use the indefinite articles "a" and "an" when we talk about our jobs, in Spanish you usually don't.


Examples:

My uncle is a dentist. - Mi tio es dentista.


I'm a teacher. - Soy profesor.


My cousin works as an engineer. - Mi primo trabaja como ingeniero.


He likes his job as a bartender. - A él le gusta su trabajo como bartender.


Note: you do use articles when talking about a job in a general or descriptive way.


Examples:

Mi tío es el ingeniero más respetado del país.

Fui al hospital y hablé con la doctora de turno.


Iba manejando muy rápido y me detuvo un policía.


Shakira es una cantante colombiana.


Note: it's more common to not use an article, but it's optional to put the indefinite article in front of a job.


Example:

Soy profesor.

or

Soy un profesor.


The Days of the Week


In English, you hardly ever use an article when talking about the days of the week. In Spanish however, you do.


Examples:

I like to work out every Monday. - Me gusta hacer ejercicios todos los lunes.


Would you like to have dinner on Friday? - ¿Te gustaría cenar el viernes?


It might rain next Tuesday. - Puede llover el próximo martes.


Sundays, I like to relax. - Los domingos, me gusta relajarme.


Telling Time


In Spanish you talk about the times of the day by using the feminine articles "la" and "las".


Examples:

My brother is coming at 7:00 this evening. - Mi hermano va a venir a las 7:00 esta tarde.


The movie starts at 9:30. - La pelicula comienza a las 9:30.


I like to eat lunch exactly at 1:00. - Me gusta almorzar exactamente a la 1:00.


I don't like getting up at 6:00 in the morning. - No me gusta levantarme a las 6:00 de la mañana.




In English you have many contractions, but in Spanish you only have two:


Preposition Article Contraction
a + el = al
de + el = del

Examples of "al":


Me voy al cuarto de espera, me avisan.


Pinta al niño, pero solo la carita.


Baila al compás de la música.


Examples of "del":


Vengo del río, está súper frío.


Me gusta la historia del carro de mi mamá.


Cerca del amanecer, siempre es más oscuro.


Note: you only contract with the article el (= the) and not with the pronoun él (= he).


Example:


A él le gusta bailar".


Note: you do not contract when "el" is part of a proper name. This can be the name
of a country, a city, a movie, a book or a person for instance.

Examples:


Ir de vacaciones a El Salvador es algo inigualable.


Cuando estás en Texas, no puedes dejar de visitar a El Paso.


Le dieron muchos premios a El señor de los anillos, fue un gran bestseller.


Muchos son los exploradores que han desaparecido en busca de El Dorado.


Acabamos de llegar de El Cairo, ¡qué hermoso lugar!




In many cases where you would use a possessive pronoun in English, you use an article in Spanish. This is especially common when talking about body parts. It is also common when talking about something where it is very clear to whom it belongs to. We'll give some examples to explain how this works in Spanish, compared to English.


Examples:


He went to the doctor, because his eyes hurt. - Fue al médico porque le duelen los ojos.


You should wash your hands after going to the bathroom. - Deberías lavarte las manos después de ir al baño.


Don't worry, my dog doesn't bite. - No te preocupes, el perro no muerde.


Last year, my brother lost all interest in his studies. - El año pasado, mi hermano perdió todo interés en los estudios.


What I like most about my boyfriend are his green eyes. - Lo que más me gusta de mi novio es que tiene los ojos verdes.


He was embarrassed when his pants fell down. - Se avergonzó, cuando se le cayeron los pantalones.


Note: when in Spanish you want to specify to whom something belongs to, you can do this as follows:
the article + the object + de + the possessor.

Examples:


Alicia's house is right over there. - La casa de Alicia está justo ahí.


Sorry, but you are sitting in Frank's seat. - Disculpa, pero estás sentado en la silla de Frank.


My friend's bookstore closed last year. - La librería de mi amigo cerró sus puertas el año pasado.




In Spanish, some adjectives can be made into a noun, by preceding them with the neuter article "lo".


Examples:


Me gusta lo fácil que es este ejercicio. - I like how easy this exercise is.


¿Ya viste lo audaz que es ella? - Have you seen how fearless she is?


Quisiera estar en lo alto de esa montaña. - I want to be at the summit of that mountain.


Es increíble lo generoso que es ese hombre. - It's incredible how generous that man is.