Although it is seldom possible to predict with certainty whether a given Spanish noun is of masculine or feminine gender, Spanish has numerous guidelines that can usually be followed. The most well-known rule or guideline is that nouns ending in –o are masculine and those ending in –a are feminine,
El libro (book) La casa (house)
El cuadro (painting) La mesa (table)
Nevertheless, there are numerous exceptions to this gender rule, especially for those ending in –a (Many of them are listed below), and words ending in any other letter can be either masculine or feminine, so the best advice is that you learn every new word along with its gender by using the articles, for instant:
El árbol (tree) El coche (car)
El lápiz (pencil) La mano (hand)
Anyway, here you have some basic but useful rules:
- Nouns ending in certain suffixes are usually feminine. They include –ción (usually the equivalent of “-tion”), -sión, -ía (usually equivalent of “-y”, although not in the diminutive sense), -za, –dad (often used like “-ty”) and –tis is (“-it is).
La nación (nation) La felicidad (happiness)
La ocasión (occasion) La caridad (charity)
La economía (economy) La meningitis (meningitis)
La pobreza (poverty)
- Nouns of greek origin ending in –a are usually masculine.
El problema (problem) El poema (poem)
El drama (drama) El tema (subject)
- Nouns ending in an accented vowel are usually masculine.
El sofá (sofa) El tabú (taboo)
El chalé (detached house) El rubí (ruby)
- Nouns with certain endings are usually masculine. These include –aje (usually the equivalent of “-age”), -ambre and –or. An exception is la flor (flower).
El mensaje (message) El viaje (trip)
El hambre (hunger) El calambre (cramp)
El calor (heat) El dolor (pain)
- Infinitives used as nouns are masculine.
El fumar (smoking) El cantar (singing)
El viajar (travelling) El escuchar (listening)
- Months and days of the week are masculine
Enero es frío (January is cold) El lunes (Monday)
- Letters are feminine while numbers are masculine
La d (d) El 7 (seven)
Now you can practice what you have learned with our quizzes and remember to contact your tutor with any question you have about the gender of nouns or to ask for more homework. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?