Tag Archives: spanish noun gender

How To Make Spanish Nouns Plural

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The plural form of nouns in Spanish is relatively easy to learn. There are really only three rules to follow.

1. Nouns ending in a vowel; add s:

mano — hand
manos — hands
señora — lady
señoras — ladies

2. Nouns ending in a consonant; add es:

lección — lesson
lecciones — lessons
profesor — professor
profesores — professors

3. Nouns ending in z; change z to c and add es:

luz — light
luces — lights
nariz — nose
narices — noses

Notice that under rule 2 above, the example also showed a change in written (and spoken) accentuation:

lección becomes lecciones

That is because adding es actually adds another syllable to the word and so a different accent rule applies. You may want to review the lesson on accents in Spanish.

In a nutshell, when words ending in n, s, or a vowel have a spoken stress, the accent mark is used. The word lecciones keeps its spoken stress on the -on syllable, but in the plural form of the word, with -es added, -on is no longer the final syllable and the word conforms to the unmarked configuration.

Okay, that was la parte más fácil. Now you have to know how to add “the” definite article. You see, in Spanish the article, noun and adjective must agree in number and gender. Think of it as a homogeneous noun phrase.

For example, if “the lady” is la señora, then “the ladies” is:

las señoras

That is, la becomes las, for the feminine gender. The masculine el becomes los in the plural form:

el hombre fuerte — the strong man

becomes,

los hombres fuertes — the strong men

Do you see that the article, the noun, and the adjective all become plural?

To anticipate your next question, and offer some help with it, visit: When are Spanish Nouns Feminine or Masculine?

Espero que encuentre las lecciones en este sitio informativos y divertidos.

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When are Spanish Nouns Feminine or Masculine?

Good question. And the answer is…there is no easy answer. Even though words ending in a are generally feminine, this is not always the case. Likewise, words ending in o are not always masculine. Five notable exceptions are:

la mano — the hand
el día — the day
el problema — the problem
el poema — the poem
el mapa — the map

Of course, nouns of animals (including humans) can be either masculine or feminine:

el niño — the little boy
la niña — the little girl
el perro — the male dog
la perra — the female dog

Nouns ending in e are unpredictable, as are words for material things:

el lápiz — the pencil
el filme — the [movie] film

All words ending in -dad and -ción are feminine:

la ciudad — the city
la universidad — the university
la dirección — the direction
la conversación — the conversation

There are some other rules as well, but the lesson here is: When learning your Spanish vocabulary, memorize the definite article along with the noun. That is, learn the words with their corresponding el or la.

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