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The different genders and how to know which one to use.

Spanish ·

Unlike in English, every noun in Spanish has a gender (género). These genders are important to know, since they determine the articles and adjectives to use with that noun.

Genders in Spanish

There are two grammatical genders: feminine (femenino) and masculine (masculino). Generally, words referring to living beings will reflect that being's gender, but otherwise the gender of the word refers to the word itself instead of the underlying object.

How to Determine a Gender

There are a few rules you can follow to help make an educated guess about the gender of a noun. There are usually exceptions to these rules, but this should give you a solid starting point.


The following nouns are (often) masculine:

Ends with -oel tiempo (time, weather), el plato (plate)
Ends with -mael idioma (language), el programa (program)
Ends with ////el bebé (baby), el colibrí (hummingbird)
Refers to malesel padre (father), el hombre (man)
Daysel lunes (Monday), el martes (Tuesday)
Datesel 1 de abril (the 1st of April)
Cardinal directionsel norte (north), el sur (south)


The following nouns are (often) feminine:

Ends with -ala casa (house), la vida (la vida)
Ends with -dla salud (health), la felicidad (happiness)
Ends with -iónla canción (song), la religión (religion)
Ends with -umbrela costumbre (custom) la muchedumbre (crowd)
Ends with -zla luz (light), la nariz (nose)
Refers to femalesla madre (mother), la mujer (woman)
Lettersla (letra) "a" (the letter "a")


Sometimes a word that refers to a person can be used with either gender, even though the word itself stays the same:

el dentista/la dentista (dentist)
el testigo/la testigo (witness)
el violista/la violista (violinist)