Gender of Nouns in Spanish Grammar

Introduction

Nouns (sustantivos), describe people, places, things and concrete or abstracts concepts. In Spanish grammar, nouns are classified by gender as masculine or feminine. The gender of a noun in Spanish can generally be identified by the noun ending, however, there are some exceptions.

Learn the rules for identifying masculine and feminine nouns in Spanish grammar with Lingolia. In the exercises, you can practise what you have learnt.

Example

Masculine Nouns

The general rule is that nouns ending in -o are masculine. However, there are some different noun endings and noun categories that are also considered masculine. Below is a list of general rules, examples and exceptions for determining masculine nouns in Spanish Grammar:

word ending example exception
-o el trabajojob, el librobook la fotophoto, la manohand
-aje el viajetrip, el trajesuit
-ambre el hambrehunger, el calambrecramp
-ar, -er, -or el colmenarapiary, el ordenadorcomputer, el tallergarage
-an, -en, -in, -on, un (with or without an accent) el panbread, el andénplatform, el espadíndress sword, el jamónham, el atúntuna fish
-ate, -ete, ote el escaparateshop window, el camarotecabin
el cafécoffee
-és el arnésharness
-che el cochecar, el porcheporch la nochenight
-l el papelpaper, el nivellevel la pielskin, la cárcelprison
-ma el programaprogram, el poemapoem la cremalotion, la camabed
-miento el pimientopepper, el sufrimientosuffering
-n el trentrain la imagenpicture
-pa el mapamap, el arpaharp la capacloak
-ta el cometacomet, el planetaplanet la cartaletter, la patapaw
-x el tóraxthorax
-y el bueyox, el jerseypullover
compound words formed with a verb el paraguas (parar + agua)umbrella
stop + water
compass directions el norteNorth
days of the week el lunesMonday
months el eneroJanuary
numerals el unoone
names of bodies of water and mountains el AtlánticoAtlantic, el TeideTeide

Feminine Nouns

The general rule is that nouns ending in -a are feminine. However, there are some different noun endings and noun categories that are also considered feminine. Below is a list of general rules, examples and exceptions for determining feminine nouns in Spanish grammar:

word ending example exception
-a la ventanawindow, la comidafood el sofácouch, el díaday
-ia, -ie la historiastory, la serieseries
-ad, -ed, -id, ud la facultadfaculty, la paredwall, la vidgrapevine, la saludhealth el ataúdcoffin
-ez, -eza la veztime, la tristezagrief
-is la tesisthesis, la crisiscrisis el arcoírisrainbow
-ncia la provinciaprovince, la pacienciapatience
-umbre la costumbrehabit, la cumbresummit
-z la cruzcross, la nariznose el lápizpencil
-ción, -sión, -zón la informacióninformation, la presiónpressure, la razónreason
the name of islands Mallorca el Hierro
city names ending with -a Barcelona
many countries EspañaSpain, ItaliaItaly Congo
letters of the alphabet la athe A

To Note

As with all rules, there are a few exceptions so it’s best to learn the article and gender together with the noun.