Nouns & articles in Spanish Grammar

Beginner Spanish Grammar Lesson

Los sustantivos y los artículos en español


Nouns are used to name all sorts of things: people, animals, objects, places, ideas, emotions, feelings, virtues, defects.

Examples of nouns in English: cat, dog, house, river, Richard, Santiago, courage..


Spanish nouns may be masculine or feminine. Unlike English, in Spanish even inanimate nouns are classified as masculine or feminine.

You can usually tell whether a noun is masculine or feminine by its ending.

  • Nouns ending in 's' are masculine: país, autobús, mes, compas
  • Nouns ending in 'ma' are masculine: puma, sistema, tema
  • Nouns ending in 'r', are masculine: motor, par, cráter
  • Nouns ending in 'l', are masculine: pastel, papel, redil, mantel
  • Nouns ending in 'o' are masculine: libro, niño, sueño, diccionario
  • Nouns ending in 'n' are masculine: jabón, jardín, capitán, atún
  • About 50% of nouns ending in 'e' are masculine: puente, diente, peine

Perhaps 'SMARLONE' will help you to remember the above!

  • Nouns ending in 'a' are feminine: niña, mesa, ventana
  • Nouns ending in 'ción' are feminine: canción, nación, situación
  • Nouns ending in 'sión' are feminine: profesión, posesión,
  • Nouns ending in 'd' are feminine: amistad, ciudad, voluntad
  • Nouns ending in 'z' are feminine: paz, cruz, luz
  • About 50% of nouns ending in 'e' are feminine:
  • Nouns ending in -ista can be masculine or feminine: turista, dentista, periodista.
  • Nouns ending in -ente can be masculine or feminine: gerente, cliente, dirigente.
  • Nouns ending in -ante can be masculine or feminine: visitante, agente, dibujante.

Singular and Plural Nouns in Spanish

Most nouns in Spanish are either singular (one) or plural (several).

The plural of nouns that end in a vowel (-a, -e, -i, -o, -u) is usually formed by adding an -s.

Examples: silla/sillas; padre/padres; taxi/taxis; mango/mangos;

Nouns that end in a consonant usually form the plural by adding -es.

Examples: cartel/carteles; pared/paredes; joven/jóvenes

Exceptions include nouns ending in -s or -x which have the same form in both singular and plural:

Examples: virus/virus, tórax/tórax, crisis/crisis.

Orthographic rule

When a noun ends in -z, the plural is formed by changing -z to -ces.

el lápiz > los lápices; la raíz > las raíces.

Nouns ending in -í, -ú, -tonics, add -es.
el colibrí > los colibríes; el bambú > los bambúes; el rubí > los rubíes.

The Article in Spanish

This is the word that goes before the noun, like a/an or the in English. Articles in Spanish may be definite or indefinite, and feminine or masculine, and singular or plural.

Indefinite articles

As in English, we use the indefinite article in Spanish when we are talking about someone or something without specifying precisely which person or thing, e.g. "Do you have a pen (any pen)?" Although in English the indefinite article is always a/an, in Spanish the choice of indefinite article has to agree with the gender of the noun being referred to: un hombre, una cara, un coche, una casa.

The equivalent of the English 'some' as in I met some friends is unos (masculine) and unas (feminine).

Definite articles in Spanish

The definite article in Spanish is used when we are talking about a particular person or thing, e.g. "Do you have the tickets?" or "The street is crowded."

In English, the same definite article is used with all nouns, masculine, feminine and others: the man, the woman, the car, the house.

In Spanish, a different definite article is used depending on gender: el hombre, la mujer, el coche, la casa.

In English, the same definite article is used with all nouns, singular, plural, and uncountable/mass nouns: the man, the men; the woman, the women; the house, the houses; the rice; the fear.

In Spanish, a different definite article is used with singular and plural nouns: el hombre, los hombres; la mujer, las mujeres; el coche, los coches, la casa, las casas.

When something is mentioned for the first time, we often use an indefinite article; when we mention the same thing later, we often use a definite article.

Example: Estaba sentado en una silla. La silla se rompió. (He was sitting on a chair. The chair broke.)

The Neutral Article in Spanish

In Spanish, a neutral article is placed before an adjective which is being used as a noun.

Examples: Su conducción es lo peor. (His driving is the worst.) Lo interesante del libro son los ejercicios. (The interesting thing about the book is the exercises.) Lo raro es ... (The strange thing is ...).

Exercise 1

Select the correct article el, los, la, las for each of these nouns according to their gender and number.

1. padre quiz answer

2. taco quiz answer

3. madre quiz answer

4. mango quiz answer

5. cantante quiz answer

6. señorita quiz answer

7. canción quiz answer

8. motor quiz answer

9. carne quiz answer

10. ciudad quiz answer

11. secretaria quiz answer

12. problema quiz answer

13. apóstol quiz answer

14. fiesta quiz answer

15. pan quiz answer

16. suéter quiz answer

17. jardín quiz answer

18. rubíes quiz answer

19. autobus quiz answer

20. clima quiz answer

21. ciudades quiz answer

22. motores quiz answer

23. mangos quiz answer

24. autobuses quiz answer

25. problemas quiz answer

26. jardínes quiz answer

27. rubí quiz answer

28. madres quiz answer

29. turista es una mujer. quiz answer

30. turista es un hombre. quiz answer

Exercise 2

Select the indefite article un or una or unos (some) before each noun according to its gender and number.

1. profesión quiz answer

2. roca quiz answer

3. amigo quiz answer

4. pera quiz answer

5. profesor quiz answer

6. rosa quiz answer

7. momento quiz answer

8. tema quiz answer

9. director quiz answer

10. crisis quiz answer

11. papel quiz answer

12. confusión quiz answer

13. piloto quiz answer

14. mantel quiz answer

15. amistad quiz answer

16. virus quiz answer

17. bolsa quiz answer

18. diccionario quiz answer

19. libros quiz answer

20. gente quiz answer

21. Su mujer es dentista quiz answer

22. cantante quiz answer

23. Mi hermano es periodista quiz answer

24. Mi hermana es periodista quiz answer

25. El es médico quiz answer

26. Ella es médico quiz answer

Exercise 3

Select the plural of the following nouns with the correct definite article (el, los, la, las).

1. Cicatriz - . quiz answer

2. Guitarra - . quiz answer

3. Director - . quiz answer

4. Café - . quiz answer

5. Mantel - . quiz answer

6. Papel - . quiz answer

7. Capitán - . quiz answer

8. Refrigerador - . quiz answer

9. León - . quiz answer

10. Galleta - . quiz answer

11. Radio - . quiz answer

12. Papa - . quiz answer

13. Señora - . quiz answer

14. Jarrón - . quiz answer

15. Almacén - . quiz answer

16. Bolígrafo - . quiz answer

17. Cuaderno - . quiz answer

18. Melón - . quiz answer

19. Madre - . quiz answer

20. Señor - . quiz answer

21. Mochila - . quiz answer

22. Camión - . quiz answer

23. Cruz - . quiz answer

24. Padre - . quiz answer

25. Dirección - . quiz answer

Exercise 5

Choose the word with the correct ending that agrees with the rest of the sentence.

1. El es alto. quiz answer

2. La es alta. quiz answer

3. El es pequeño. quiz answer

4. El es moderno quiz answer

5. La es buena. quiz answer

6. La es alta quiz answer

7. El es largo. quiz answer

8. El es corto. quiz answer

9. La es corta. quiz answer

10. La es pequeña. quiz answer

11. chicos son altos. quiz answer

12. montañas son altas. quiz answer

13. niñas son pequeñas. quiz answer

14. mercados son modernas. quiz answer

15. escuelas son buenas. quiz answer

16. señoritas son altas. quiz answer

17. ríos son largos. quiz answer

18. libros son cortos. quiz answer

19. novelas son cortas. quiz answer

20. cocinas son pequeñas. quiz answer

Exercise 6

Change these sentences into the plural form.

1. La cantidad es enorme. ---> quiz answer

2. El hada es ficticia. ---> quiz answer

3. La ciudad es bonita. ---> quiz answer

4. La foto es bonita. ---> quiz answer

5. El coche es moderno. ---> quiz answer

6. La casa es bonita. ---> quiz answer

7. El edificio es alto. ---> quiz answer

8. El presidente es viejo. ---> quiz answer

9. La amistad es importante. ---> quiz answer

10. La civilización es antigua. ---> quiz answer

Exercise 7

Complete the following sentences with the correct form of the adjective.

1. Los campos son . quiz answer

2. La universidad es . quiz answer

3. Las casas son . quiz answer

4. Los señores son . quiz answer

5. Los chicos son muy . quiz answer

6. El pueblo es . quiz answer

7. La familia está muy . quiz answer

8. El artículo es . quiz answer

9. Las comidas son . quiz answer

10. El hombre es . quiz answer

11. La blusa no es ; es .

12. Las calles son ; no son .

13. El niño es ; no es .

14. Ella prepara una comida . quiz answer

15. ¿Quiénes son los muchachos ? quiz answer

16. Ellos van a hacer un viaje . quiz answer

17. Los mercados son ; no son .

18. La bandera es y .

19. Los señores son y .

20. La flor es muy quiz answer

21. Tienen una cocina ; no .

22. El muchacho es ; no es .

23. Las faldas son y .

24. La casa no es . quiz answer

25. Las sillas son . quiz answer


Covered in this Lesson

Nouns in Spanish and their articles - definite, indefinite and neutral.



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