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Gender of nouns

On a previous post, we talk abou type of nouns. There is some confusion with the gender, so in the post we will try to solve those doubts.

General rule

There are some exceptions, but to sum up: -a are feminine and -o are masculine:

  • El toro (bull) / la vaca (cow)
  • El perro / la perra (dog)
  • El niño (boy) / la niña (girl)

NOTE
El and La are the Spanish definite articles and the indefinite articles are un and una. For the plural, El changes to Los, La to Las, Un to Unos and Una to Unas.

Other rules

Words with the following endings are femenine:

  • -CIÓN (la canción)
  • -SIÓN (la pasión)
  • -ZÓN (la razón)
  • -DAD (la felicidad)
  • -TAD (la amistad)
  • -EZ (la vejez)
  • -TRIZ (la actriz)
  • -TUD (la multitud)
  • -UMBRE (la incertidumbre)

The letters of the alphabet are all feminine and should take a feminine article: la R, la E…

Words with the following endings are masculine:

  • -OR (el amor)
  • -AJE (el traje)
  • -AN (el pan)
  • -MA (el idioma)

So are masculine the followings:

  • Numbers (el cinco)
  • Colours (el rojo)
  • Days (el martes)
  • Cardinal points (el norte)

The geographical-related nouns are masculine: el río, el mar, los lagos, los volcanes…

Most professions don’t change their ending and only change the article: el/la estudiante, el/la atleta, el/la poeta, el/la piloto.

Exceptions

Feminine nouns ending in -o: la mano, la radio.

Masculine nouns ending in -a: el día, el sofá, el mapa.

-ZON not femenine: el corazón, el buzón.

-OR not masculine: la flor, la labor

El profesor / la profesora (the teacher). Notice that they end in -OR and for feminine becomes -ORA.

Remember to contact us if you still have doubt about this post. And if what you want is to practice, Haizea will help you with that.

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Types of nouns

The noun (Sustantivo or Nombre in spanish) is the most important part of the sentence. This noun sets the gender and the number, and the verb and the rest of words of the sentence have to match with it.

As in English, nouns can be people, places, things or ideas. They can be definite (the) or indefinite (a, an). In English neuter gender is quite common but in Spanish nouns have two genders: masculine and feminine. If you look up a word in the dictionary, remember to read if it’s f or m.

Forming the plural is very easy: just add an S at the end of the noun if it ends in a vowel, -es if it doesn’t.

Categories

Nombre PROPIO

Proper names of people or places: Marta, Alberto, Madrid, Ferrari

Nombre COMÚN

Árbol, casa, coche, maleta, bolígrafo

Other categories

If it’s for girls o boys:

  • Femenino: Casa, chica
  • Masculino (o neutro): Coche, chico

If it’s one or more:

  • Singular: Una casa, un coche
  • Plural: 3 casas, 5 coches

If you can count them or not:

  • Contable: Una casa, un coche 
  • Incontable: Amor, oro, agua

If it’s something material or you can’t touch it:

  • Concreto: Ordenador, bicicleta
  • Abstracto: Libertad, miedo

For a single or a group:

  • Individual: Abeja, perro
  • Colectivo: Enjambre, manada

Ejercicios

¿Qué palabra es femenina?

  • Perro
  • Casa
  • Árbol
  • Ordenador

¿Qué palabra es masculina?

  • Coche
  • Manzana
  • Vaca
  • Amiga

¿Cuál es el singular de PERA?

¿Cuál es el singular de ARBOLES?

¿Cuál de estas palabras es un sustantivo común?

  • Barcelona
  • Sergio
  • París
  • Flor

¿Cuál de estas palabras es un sustantivo propio?

  • Perro
  • Londres
  • Planta
  • Paseo

Contact us to solve your doubts or know the right answers.

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Ordinal numbers

On today’s post, we will start from the very beginning… Ordinal numbers! 

Experts say that numbers are used around 20 times every day, so if you’re interested on learning spanish, you’ll need them. Let’s go!

First ones, differents

From 1 to 15, they have their own name

1 – Uno

2 – Dos

3 – Tres

4 – Cuatro

5 – Cinco

6 – Seis

7 – Siete

8 – Ocho

9 – Nueve

10 – Diez

11 – Once

12 – Doce

13 – Trece

14 – Catorce

15 – Quince

Going on…

From 16 to 29, use the tens and final digit, in a single word:

16 – Dieciseis (10 y 6)

17 – Diecisiete

18 – Dieciocho

19 – Diecinueve

20 – Veinte

21 – Veintiuno (20 y 1)

22 – Veintidós

23 – Veintitrés

24 – Veinticuatro

25 – Veinticinco

26 – Veintiséis

27 – Veintisiete

28 – Veintiocho

29 – Veintinueve

Remember, DIEZ Y- becomes DIECI– (same pronunciation, by the way), and VEINTE Y- becomes VEINTI-.

… and on…

30 – Treinta

31 – Treinta y uno

32 – Treinta y dos

40 – Cuarenta

50 – Cincuenta

60 – Sesenta

70 – Setenta

80 – Ochenta

90 – Noventa

Three ciphers

100 – Cien

101 – Ciento uno

200 – Doscientos

300 – Trescientos

400 – Cuatrocientos

500 – Quinientos

600 – Seiscientos

700 – Setecientos

800 – Ochocientos

900 – Novecientos

999 – Novecientos noventa y nueve

Notice that CIEN is the only one that doesn’t end up with ‘to’, and from 200 becomes plural

No conector after hundreds, you don’t say ciento y setenta. 170 is ciento setenta.

Lots of zeros

1.000 – Mil

2.000 – Dos mil

10.000 – Diez mil

100.000 – Cien mil

1.000.000 – Un millón

2.000.000 – Dos millones

10.000.000 – Diez millones

Summing up

  • First 15 numbers are different. 
  • From 16 to 29 are written with a single word.
  • Two ciphers are the only ones that goes with Y:
    • 37 – Treinta y siete
    • 370 – Trescientos setenta
    • 3.700 – Tres mil setecientos

Exceptions

Uno

Just the number 1 is UNO, but when in goes with a noun, it changes depending the gender:

  • Un coche (One car)
  • Una casa (One house)
  • Cuarenta y un coches (41 cars)
  • Cuarenta y una casas (41 houses)

Ciento

Not 100, but the rest of hundreds depend on the gender too:

  • Doscientos coches (200 cars)
  • Doscientas casas (200 houses)
  • Ochocientos cuarenta y dos coches (842 cars)
  • Ochocientas cuarenta y dos casas (842 houses)

Millones

In this case, it doesn’t matter the gender, it always goes with DE before a noun:

  • Un millón de coches (one million cars)
  • Un millón de casas (one million houses)
  • Doscientos veintitrés millones de coches (223 million cars)
  • Doscientos veintitrés millones de casas (223 million houses)

You still have doubts about ordinals numbers? Leave a comment below or practice them with Haizea by clicking here.

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Ser or estar, what a question!

To be or not to be… It’s not the right question when it’s Spanish what you’re learning. One of the most used verb in english, to be, has two different translations possible in Spanish. And it’s the hardest one to understand for almost every Spanish learner. In this post, we will try to make that understanding work a little bit easier.

What is the difference between ser and estar?

Ser doesn’t change, at least in a short period of time:

Soy español (I’m Spanish)
Soy rubio (I’m blonde)
El coche es azul (The car is blue)
El edificio es alto (The building is tall)
Pablo es profesor (Pablo is a teacher)

The car can be painted, but it was made blue. Or I can change the color of my hair, but I was born blonde. Generally, we use ser for descriptions.

But what can change, goes with estar: feelings, locations or situations that might change sooner or later.

Estoy enfermo (I’m sick)
El coche está roto (The car is broken)
Estoy en Barcelona (I’m in Barcelona)
Pedro está enfadado (Pedro is angry)

Now I feel sick, but I’ll feel better in a couple of days. Or in this moment I’m in Barcelona, but I’ll fly to San Sebastian for the weekend.

Double trick

There are some adjectives that can be used both ways:

Mi hermana es guapa / mi hermana está guapa
My sister is good looking / my sister looks pretty

She might be ugly but looks great on that dress.

Juan es listo / Juan está listo
Juan is smart / Juan is ready

Exceptions

With death comes an exception. You are dead or alive, no one can change death, but in spanish is with estar:

Está muerto / está vivo

With marriage, other exception: When you are married, you can change it. But if your couple dies…

Está casada (She is married)
Es viuda (She is a widow)

You can use it both ways though:

Es viuda / está viuda

Some other exceptions

Time goes with SER

Son las 8 pm
Hoy es jueves
Es verano / estamos en invierno
Es de noche

Temporary thing that doesn’t change

La fiesta es en mi casa (The party is in my house)

A party has an end, the situation is temporary, but the location won’t change.

Exceptions make a language even harder to understand, that’s why practicing becomes so important. Remember you can send us all your doubts by email, or talk one to one with Haizea by clicking here.