Spanish nouns are the building blocks for our world, and as a result, for our language. You can hardly speak a sentence without putting a noun in it somewhere, since the word for any thing, place or idea is a noun. So, nouns are a perfect place to start learning Spanish!
In English, we treat all of our nouns the same. They can be singular or plural, of course, but unlike many other languages, our nouns have no gender. In Spanish, on the other hand, nouns can be singular or plural and masculine or feminine.
The first question you may be wondering about is if there’s a way to know which nouns are going to be masculine or feminine. Is there any rule behind it, or do you just have to remember every word individually? Alas, there is no rule—but there almost is. Because generally speaking, masculine nouns end in o and feminine nouns end in a.
So, you can’t know ahead of time that the word for, say, “magazine” is going to be masculine or feminine. But once you learn the word, you’ll know: “magazine” is revista, and since it ends in an a, it’s feminine.
Let’s look at a few standard examples:
*Words that end in ion are also usually feminine. For example:
There are some exceptions to these rules, but they are few and far between. Here’s just a few of the most common ones:
el día day
el agua water
la mano hand
la foto photo (foto is actually a shortened version of la fotografía, which is why it’s feminine)
Making nouns plural in Spanish is just as easy as doing it in English: add “s” if the word ends in a vowel, or “es” if the word ends in a consonant.
libro –> libros
mesa –> mesas
papel –> papeles