Nouns in Spanish – Words for people and object

In this lesson, we are going to learn about nouns in Spanish. Nouns are like the building blocks of a language, so it is really important to know how to use them. Especially, because every Spanish noun is masculine or feminine, it doesn’t matter if it is referred to people or objects.  In the video below, it is explained this peculiarity in detail.

How to know if a noun is masculine or feminine in Spanish

With this video, you will discover some tips to identify the gender of nouns in Spanish. Don’t forget to have a pen and paper handy to take note of all the relevant information.


We are going to review everything we have seen in the video. Remember that if there is something you do not understand or you have any questions, you should get in touch with your Spanish tutor by email.

Every Spanish noun is masculine or feminine

Whether a Spanish word is masculine, feminine or plural affects lots of things. For instance, all «the» and «a» words (articles) change depending on the word’s gender and number, and so do any adjectives which describe the noun.

  • El árbol alto (the tall tree).
  • La casa alta (the tall house).

These rules will help you guess what gender a word is

1) If you see a word with «el» or «un» before it, it is usually masculine: el libro (book), un árbol (a tree), un coche (a car)

2) «La» or «una» in front of a word means it’s feminine: una flor (a flower) la casa (the house), la calle (the street)...

3) If you don’t have these clues, there are other tricks you can use to help you guess. Notice that we say «most of them» not «all of them», there are always some exceptions to most of the grammar rules:

Most nouns that end in «-o», «-l», «-n», «-r», «-s»  and «-aje» are masculine, along with male people, days, months, languages, seas, rivers, oceans and mountains.

Most nouns that end in «-a», «-ción», «-sión», «-tad», «-tud», «dad» and «-umbre» are feminine, along with female people and letters of the alphabet.

4) You can’t tell whether a noun ending in «-e» or «ista» is masculine or feminine, you have to learn them: el coche (car), la gente (people), el turista (male turist), la turista (female turist)

5) These are some exceptions to the general rules. You’ll just need to learn these ones off by heart: el día (day), el problema (problem), el mapa (map), la foto (photo), la moto (motorbike), la mano (hand), la flor (flower)…

Making nouns plural

Nouns carry information about number. When a noun refers to one person or thing, it is singular in number. When it refers to more than one of the same type of thing, it is plural in number: un hermano (one brother), dos hermanos (two brothers)…

  1. The plural of most Spanish nouns is formed by adding «-s» when the noun ends in a vowel: a, e, i, o, or u: una pelota (a ball), tres pelotas (three balls)
  2. Nouns ending in the consonants l, r, or n form their plurals by adding -«-es»: una flor (one flower), dos flores (two flowers)…
  3. Nouns ending in the consonant «-z» form the plural by changing «z» to «c» and adding «-es»: el lápiz (the pencil), los lápices (the pencils)…
  4. Nouns ending in the consonant «-s» usually remain the same in the plural: el lunes (Monday) los lunes (Mondays)…, but if they have an orthographic accent in the last syllable they will add «-es»: un hombre inglés (an English man), unos hombres ingleses (some English men)… Notice that the accent is removed in the plural.
  5. When talking about professions or family members we will have to change the gender if we are talking about a man or a woman: un abogado (a male lawyer), una abogada (a female lawyer), mi hermano (my brother), mi hermana (my sister)…

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