An explanation of nouns, articles and gender

Nouns are words that name things, people, places and ideas. In Spanish, all nouns are either masculine or feminine. This is called the gender of the noun.

How to tell if a noun is masculine or feminine

Usually, nouns that end in -o are masculine and nouns that end in -a are feminine. For example:


There are some exceptions to this rule, eg planeta, día, mapa and tranvía are all masculine, whereas mano, foto and radio are all feminine.

Nouns with these endings are usually masculine:

  • -ma eg problema, programa, idioma
  • a consonant other than -d or -z eg árbol, color, país

Nouns with these endings are usually feminine:

  • -d eg salud, libertad, nacionalidad
  • -z eg paz, luz, nariz
  • -ión eg religión, natación, conversación

There are always exceptions to these rules. It can be hard to tell if some nouns with other endings are masculine or feminine. For example, nouns that end in -e could be either masculine, eg hombre or feminine, eg leche. It's better to check in a dictionary than to guess.


Are these nouns masculine or feminine?

  1. semana
  2. pan
  3. pared
  4. televisión
  5. mes
  6. actividad
  7. nieve
  8. caballo
  1. semana (week) - feminine
  2. pan (bread) - masculine
  3. pared (wall) - feminine
  4. televisión (television) - feminine
  5. mes (month) - masculine
  6. actividad (activity) - feminine
  7. nieve (snow) - feminine
  8. caballo (horse) - masculine

Making a noun plural

Just as in English, nouns in Spanish can be singular or plural. To make nouns plural:

  • Add -s to nouns ending in a vowel, eg librolibros, casacasas
  • Add -es to nouns ending in a consonant, eg ciudadciudades, colorcolores
  • Remove the -z and add -ces to nouns ending in a z, eg vezveces, pezpeces
  • Add -es to nouns ending in -ión but get rid of the accent, eg regiónregiones, naciónnaciones
Always use the masculine plural form of the noun for a mixed gender group of things or people, eg 1 hermano (brother) + 2 hermanas (sisters) = 3 hermanos (siblings).

Make these nouns plural.

  1. llave
  2. nuez
  3. mujer
  4. canción
  5. mesa
  6. escritor
  7. primo
  8. universidad
  1. llave (key) → llaves
  2. nuez (nut) → nueces
  3. mujer (woman) → mujeres
  4. canción (song) → canciones
  5. mesa (table) → mesas
  6. escritor (writer) → escritores
  7. primo (cousin) → primos
  8. universidad (university) → universidades