Nouns / Los nombres

Learn easy Spanish nouns. Visit

1. Definition of noun.
2. Proper and common nouns.
3. Gender of nouns.
4. How to form feminine nouns.
5. How to form plural nouns.

1. Definition of noun.

 A noun is a word used to name people, animals, things, ideas…

        El niño juega.                     The boy is playing.

El perro corre.                    The dog is running.

La silla es roja.                   The chair is red.

Hace calor.                          It’s hot.

 2. Proper and common nouns.

 A proper noun (nombre propio) names a specific person, animalthing, idea. It begins with a capital letter.

       El Sr. Gómez es muy mayor
       Mr. Gómez is very old.
       Mi gato se llama Pepe.  
       My cat is called Pepe.                     

       El Tajo es el río más largo de España.    
       The Tagus is the longest river in Spain.

 A common noun (nombre común) refers to a person, animal, thing, idea, in a general sense.

       Mi gato se llama Pepe.  
       My cat is called Pepe.                     

       El Tajo es el río más largo de España.   
       The Tagus is the longest river in Spain.

 3. Gender of nouns.

  Nouns can only be masculine or feminine. In Spanish there are not neuter nouns.

   Males are masculine:

         Mi padre es alto.                      My father is tall.

         Mi hermano es rubio.                My brother is fair-haired.

         Los toros son peligrosos.            Bulls are dangerous.

    Females are feminine:

          Mi tía es joven.                        My aunt is young.

          Mi prima es simpática.              My cousin is nice.

          Vi una leona.                            I saw a lioness.

  The rest of the nouns can be masculine or feminine. You will have to learn their gender. 

   Tip for easy learning: try to learn every new noun with the article

         La silla (f) es azul.                    The chair is blue.

         Este libro (m) me encanta.        I love this book.

   Rules for knowing the gender according to the noun ending:

       Masculine nouns usually end in: 

-o: el libro.               
-or: el amor.                       
-aje: el garaje.
-ema: el esquema.
-an: el pan.

        Exceptions: la mano, la radio, la foto, la moto, la flor, la labor, la quema...     

Feminine nouns usually end in: 

-a: la mesa.               
-d: la mitad.                       
-ón: la canción.
-z: la actriz.
-umbre: la servidumbre.

         Exceptions: el clima, el mapa, el camión, el corazón

4. How to form feminine nouns.

 General rules for forming feminine nouns:

Masculine                      Feminine                      Examples

ending in a consonant
adding an -a
doctor / doctora
ending in –o
changing for -a
niño / niña

Other cases:

Masculine                    Feminine                       Examples

ending in -és
ending in -esa
finlandés / finlandesa
ending in –án, -ín, -ón
ending in –ana, -ina, -ona
bailarín / bailarina

same noun
el / la artista

different noun
hombre / mujer
ending in –dor, -tor
ending in –triz
emperador / emperatriz

adding –esa, -ina, -isa, -na
poeta / poetisa

NOTE: As there are many exceptions to these rules, you can look up the doubtful feminine noun in the DRAE (Dictionary of la Real Academia Española). You can do this whenever you feel unsure about a term.

5. How to form plural nouns.

Rules for forming plural nouns:

Singular                               Plural                     Example

ending in –í, -ú
adding –s or -es
tabú / tabús or tabúes
ending in any other vowel
adding -s
niña / niñas
ending in –z
ending in -ces
vez / veces
ending in –l, -r, -n, -d, -j
adding -es
ciudad / ciudades
ending in –s, -x (last syllable stressed)
adding –es
except:dux (invariable)
fax / faxes                 

the rest of –s, -x
ending in any other consonant
adding -s
robot / robots

the only form
the only form


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