Learn what determines masculine and feminine in Spanish today. Some words just need to change the ending to the root but others follow a completely different pattern.
The rules for masculine and feminine in Spanish are easy if you learn them in a logical order. In this article we are going to focus on nouns, adjectives and determiners. Read on so you don’t miss out on the most basic tricks that will always work for you.
Gender of Nouns in Spanish
As a general rule, masculine nouns end in -o (perro, libro – dog, book) and feminine nouns end in -a (playa, motocicleta – beach, motorbike).
As an exception, nouns ending in -e are sometimes masculine and sometimes feminine. To find out which gender they are, you will have to practice:
Masculine: padre, hombre, valle (father, man, valley.)
Feminine: madre, noche, torre (mother, night, tower.)
You will also find that almost all nouns ending in -ción and -sión are feminine: canción, ilusión (song, illusion.)
How to Make Adjectives Feminine in Spanish
In this case it is easier because the adjective will agree with the same gender as the noun.
For example, if we have “árbol” (tree), a masculine noun, the adjective that accompanies it will also be masculine: “viejo” (old).
The exceptions (of course, there are always exceptions to the rule in Spanish) are made up of adjectives that are invariable in gender and number, for example: “grande” (big), “excepcional” (outstanding):
Ayer vimos una película excepcional.
(Yesterday we saw an exceptional film.)
El coche de Pedro es excepcional.
(Pedro’s car is outstanding.)
The Masculine and Feminine in Articles
As with adjectives, determiners agree in gender and number with nouns in Spanish.
Whether they are determinate or indeterminate, we will agree the determiners with the noun:
La estrella que ves en frente brilla más a final de mes.
(The star you see in front of you shines brighter at the end of the month.)
Un barco velero siempre navegará más despacio.
(A sailing ship will always sail more slowly.)
When we have gender neutral nouns in Spanish, i.e. gender-invariant words, we agree the determiners according to the context:
El miembro del parlamento llegó tarde.
(The member of parliament was late.)
La miembro del club de madres ha organizado un acto benéfico.
(The member of the mothers’ club has organised a charity event.)
iScribo And Inclusive Language
Although we have to generalise with the use of masculine to proceed to the formation of the feminine in Spanish, there are always some tricks to use neutral words that include the whole. Although most languages follow masculine patterns, it is always in our hands to help with the social evolution of the language to the most inclusive way. Do you know how to use the masculine and feminine in Spanish? Our spelling and grammar checker corrects your documents in real time – it’s the best way to help you write perfect Spanish! Have you tried it yet? Tell us about it in the comments.