Today’s is lesson on how to learn genders in Spanish, and masculine and feminine Spanish nouns and adjectives. This is usually a headache for Spanish’s students. Although there are many exceptions, in this lesson we are going to learn some tricks to identify the gender of the words. And also, we are going take a look at some “False friends”, words that look like they should be masculine but are really feminine and vice versa.
The ending “-o” is masculine: el camionero (truck driver), el auto (the car). (But remember there are a lot of exceptions).
The ending “-a”, “-esa”, “-isa”, “-ina”, “-iz” is female: la leona (the lioness), la cornisa (the cornise), la colina (the hill), la actriz (the actress), la chica (the girl), la condesa (the countess).
Words ending in “ción”/ “sión” are always female: la nación (the nation), la canción (the song), la invasión (the invasion), la excursión (the excursion).
Abstract Nouns are always female: la violencia (the violence), la pereza (the laziness), la idiotez (the idiocy), la maldad (the evil), la amargura (the biterness), la juventud (the youth). (Much of these have endings like: “-dad”, “-ez”, “-eza”, “-ancia”, “-encia”, “-ura”, “-tud”.
Let’s take a look at some words that look like they should be masculine but are really feminine and vice versa.
La moto (because it really is “motoneta”). (the motorcycle)
La foto (fotografía). (the photography)
La radio (radiofonía). (the radio)
La mano (the hand)
El problema (the problem)(Remember always: “el problema” is masculine and “la solución” feminine)
El clima (the weather)
El mapa (the map)
El día (the day)
The following are some words where you are no tricks or rule to remember if they are masculine or feminine.
Words ending in “-e”: el coche (the car), el peine (the comb), la leche (the milk), la mente (the mind). (the wall), el lugar (the place).
Words ending in “ista”: el/la periodista (the journalist), el/la oculista (the eye doctor), el/la oficinista (the clerck).
One course that I recommend for learning this topic is the Learning Spanish Like Crazy self-study course. A book called Complete Spanish Grammar is another tool that my students have found helpful on this topic.