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Spanish Nouns
Sustantivos en Español

Spanish nouns bring a bit of confusion to English speakers. This is because nouns in the English language do not have genders.

They only change in terms of number.

Spanish nouns have both a gender and a number format. That is the first grammar lesson I remember from my primary school.

The gender of nouns is either masculine or feminine. Their number can be singular (one) or plural (more than one).

Keep the following rules and exceptions in mind (or at least, bookmark this page to have it as a handy reference by pressing Control-D (wink)):

Gender of Spanish Nouns

  1. Nouns ending in -o, are masculine: el muchacho ("the boy"), el libro ("the book").

    A common exception is La mano ("the hand").

  2. Most nouns ending in l, r, and s are also masculine: el papel (the paper); el placer (the pleasure), el pacer, (the pleasure); el mes" (the month).

    Common exceptions are la sal (the salt), la flor", (the flower), and la tos (the cough).

  3. Spanish nouns ending in -a are feminine: la muchacha (the girl), la casa (the house).

    Common exceptions are: el d&aaccute;a (the day), el sofá (the sofa), el mapa (the map), el drama (the drama), el planeta (the planet).

  4. Most nouns ending in d, -ioón, -umbre, and z are also feminine: la ciudad (the city), la atención (the attention), la costumbre (the custom), la paz (the peace,

    Common exceptions are: el arroz, y el lápiz (the rice and the pen)

  5. Other endings are either masculine or feminine: la razón, and the cause
  6. (the heart and the reason).

  7. Nouns denoting female beings are femenine, and nouns denoting masculine beings are masculine regardless of the endings: el hombre y la mujer (the man and the woman), el artista y la artista (the artist and the [female] artist)

    And here is a grammatical Spanish Nouns trivia fact for your records: in Spanish you use infinitives with the article el as nouns. "What one earth does that mean!!?" - I hear you say.... Well, it's not too complicated.

    See, sometimes when we speak we use verbs as nouns in both English and Spanish languages. In Spanish you use verbs in infinitive as nouns.

    For instance you say "travelling is pleasant". The verb "travelling" is conjugated in gerund (ending with -ing), i.e. past participle.

    In Spanish you say El viajar es agradable. That verb is conjugated in infinitive ("to travel", i.e. viajar.

    Let me know if this explanation needs a bit more detail, and I'll try to clarify any doubts you may have.

    Nouns are used in Spanish, not as adjectives but as nouns, with the word de like this: un reloj de oro (literally, a watch of gold [a gold watch]).

    Adjectives with definitive articles are used as nouns: el blanco, la blanca, el grande y el pequeño (the white one, the white one [female], the big one and the small one).

Number of Spanish Nouns

  1. To make nouns plural when the singular ends in a vowel, add s: los muchachos (the boys); Las muchachas (the girls), los hombres (the men).

  2. To form the plural when the singular ends in a consonant other than s and -es: las mujeres y las ciudades (the women and the cities).

  3. To form the plural of more than one syllable ending in -es or -is, don't change in the plural. Just add the appropriate article: el lunes ó los lunes (Monday and on mondays).

    Exception: el mes y los meses (the month and the months).

  4. To form the plural when the singular ends in z, change the z to c and add -es: La paz y las paces (the peace and the peaces).

  5. Some plural masculine Spanish nouns may include both genders: Los padres (el padre y la madre) (the parents, the father and the mother). Los muchachos may include a group of boys and girls.

  6. Use the singular noun instead of the plural to identify an object (a part of a person's body or an article of clothing), one of which is possessed by each member of a group. In such cases the definitive article is used instead of the possessive adjetive. Check out definitive articles in Spanish for more information.

  7. If, however, the object is plural,use the plural: Los niños se lavaron la cara y las manos (the children washed their faces (but "the face" in Spanish). Nosotros nos pusimos el sombrero y los guantes. (We put on our hats and gloves).

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