Gender In this presentation, we will look at two very important concepts in Spanish: Gender Agreement
Look at these English words and guess whether they refer to male or female: Bull Hen Husband Niece Cousin Calculator Marshmallow Gender
Some are obvious: Bull (m.) Hen (f.) Husband (m.) Niece (f.) Others are unknown: Cousin (m. or f.) While others are neither (neuter): Calculator, marshmallow Gender
In English, nouns and pronouns fall into three grammatical groups: Masculine: man, husband, rooster, he Feminine: woman, wife, hen, she Neuter: child, bird, it
In Spanish, all nouns fall into just two categories: Masculine (masculino) Feminine (feminino) There is no neuter class in which to place nouns such as table and chair. Gender
So what does this mean? You should start thinking about Spanish nouns as being either masculine or feminine.
Lets take a look! Here are some nouns with their corresponding definite article (the): el niño (the boy) la niña (the girl) el profesor (the professor) la profesora (the professor) el amigo (the friend) la amiga (the friend)
Lets reorganize these words. Put all of the el words together: el niño el profesor el amigo And all the la words together: la niña la profesora la amiga
Thats easy! Masculine nouns use the definite article el while feminine nouns use la. Lets look at a few more: La mesa (the table) El libro (the book) La pluma (the pen) El teléfono (the phone)
Just a minute!! Words that are neuter in English are either masculine or feminine in Spanish. This does not mean that these words have masculine or feminine characteristics! It is just a purely grammatical classification.
Lets practice! Do you think these nouns are masculine (el) or feminine (la)? Dont worry about the meanings for now. ___ hermano ___ mamá ___ trabajo ___ historia ___ planta ___ taco
el hermano la mamá el trabajo la historia la planta el taco Generally speaking, nouns that end in –o are masculine, while those that end in –a are feminine. There are exceptions, but we will worry about them on a case-by-case basis. How did you do?
Here are some different ones: la ciudad la universidad la religión la división el actor el doctor el español
Do you see the pattern? Not all Spanish nouns end in –o and –a, but they still must be either masculine or feminine. Nouns that end in –ión are usually feminine. Nouns that end in –dad are always feminine. Nouns that end in –l and –r are usually masculine.
What about…? Nouns that end in –e can be either masculine or feminine: la clase; el presidente Some nouns can be both, depending on the meaning: el presidente (a man) la presidente (a woman)
Learn every Spanish noun with its article. It will pay off soon, because you will be able to classify new nouns as you see the patterns develop. Whats the Bottom Line?
Look at these sentences: El niño es alto (tall). La niña es alta (tall). Words that describe niño also end in –o: alto Words that describe niña also end in –a: alta Agreement
Other words in the sentence also change to agree (match the form of the noun they describe). Heres another one: Mi primo es generoso y creativo. How would you change this sentence to talk about a cousin that is a girl? Agreement
La prima es generosa, y creativa. What if there is more than one cousin? Agreement
Los primos son generosos, y creativos. Los > the plural Primos > plural Son > are Generosos, creativos > adjectives match the ending of the nouns too. Agreement
Lets try one! Put the correct ending on each word. La vaca es bonit__ y negr__. Las vacas son bonit__ y negr__. Los carro es roj__ y fe__. Los carros son roj__ y fe__.
The envelope, please! La vaca es bonita y negra. El carro es rojo y feo.
Lets try another! Now make these sentences plural! Las vacas son bonit__ y negr__. Los carros son roj__ y fe__.
Drum Roll, please! La vaca es bonita y negra. Las vacas son bonitas y negras. El carro es rojo y feo. Los carros son rojos y feos.
Last one! You can do it! How do you make this sentence plural? El estudiante es inteligente.
How did you do? El estudiante es inteligente. Los estudiantes son inteligentes.
Thats enough for now! This is a very tricky concept in learning Spanish, mainly because it is so different from English. Keep your eyes and ears open for gender and agreement, and soon the patterns will become clearer.