Exceptions to the Rules on Gender and Termination in Spanish - include  

Nouns & Gender These words are NOT yet recorded.

1. Words of Greek etymology ending in ma:

El dilema - the dilemma
El diploma - the diploma
El epigrama - the epigram
El problema - the problem
El síntoma - the symptom
El telegrama - the telegram
etc., etc.

But

La amalgama - the amalgamation
La diadema - the diadem
La estratagema - the stratagem
La proclama - the proclamation

2. Most of the compound nouns (very few in number):

El cortaplumas - the penknife
El guardacosta - the coasting-vesselSound
El paraguas - the umbrella
El tirabala - the popgun

3. El día (the day):

El Etna - (Etna (volcano))
El mapa - the map
El sofá - the sofa
El Volga [1] - the Volga
And all words ending in accented a.

Footnote 1: And all rivers and mountains ending in a.

4. Masculine nouns ending in d:

El adalid - the warrior or chieftain
El ardid - the trick
El ataúd - coffin
El césped - the turf, lawn
El sud - the south

5. Masculine nouns ending in ión:

El embrión - the embryo
El gorrión - the sparrow
El morrión - parts of an armour
El sarampión - measles

6. Feminine nouns ending in i or y:

La diócesi - the diocese
La grey - the flock
La ley - the law
La metrópoli - the metropolis
Almost all.

7. Feminine noun ending in j:

La troj - the granary

8. Feminine nouns ending in l:

La cal - lime
La capital - capital--town
La cárcel - prison
La col - cabbage
La miel - honey
La piel - skin
La sal - salt
La señal - signal
La vocal - vowel
And a few more.

9. Feminine nouns ending in n:

La cargazón - the load
La crin - the horsehair
La desazón - the ailment
La imagen - the image
La razón - the reason
La sinrazón - the injustice
La sartén - the frying-pan
La sien - the temple
Almost all.

10. Feminine nouns ending in o:

La mano - the hand

Only word, excepting "nao" (ship), now obsolete, and "seo" (cathedral), little used.

11. Feminine nouns ending in r:

La flor - the flower
La labor - the needlework
La segur - the axe
Almost all.

12. Feminine nouns ending in s:

La bilis - the bile
La crisis - the crisis
La elipsis - ellipsis
La lis - fleur-de-lis
La mies - the crop
La perífrasis - the periphrase
La tos - the cough
And a few others.

13. Feminine noun ending in u:

La tribu - the tribe

14. Feminine nouns ending in z:

La codorniz - the partridge
La cerviz - the cervix
La cruz - the cross
La coz - the back-kick
La luz - the light
La nariz - the nose
La nuez - the nut
La pez - the pitch
La voz - the voice
La raíz - the root
La tez - the complexion
La vez - the time, once, etc., etc.
And a few others less important.

15. Feminine nouns ending in e. (This is the most numerous list of exceptions):

Las aves - the birds
La barbarie - the barbarity
La base - the basis
La calle - the street
La carne - the flesh
La fiebre - the fever
La fuente - the fountain
El hambre (f.), - the hunger
La mente - the mind
La noche - the night
La parte - the part
La quiete - the quiet
La sangre - the blood
La serpiente - the serpent
La torre - the tower

Besides the masculine and feminine genders, some nouns are called: de género común, epiceno, and ambiguo. The noun is called "de género común" (common gender) when with the same termination it may indicate both a male and female being by using a different article:

Un--una albacea - an executor, executrix
Un--una artista - an artist, artiste
Un--una Belga[2] - a Belgian
Un--una idiota - an idiot
Un--una indígena - a native
Un--una mártir - a martyr
Un--una reo - a culprit
Un--una culpable - a culprit
Un--una gimnasta - a gymnast
Un--una homicida - a murderer, a murderess
Un--una suicida - one who commits suicide
Un--una testigo - a witness

Footnote 2: And so all nouns of nationality ending in a or e.]

The noun is called Epicene when, with the same termination and the same article, it indicates both male and female:

El águila - the eagle--male and female
El buitre - the vulture--male and female
El avestruz - the ostrich--male and female
La rata - the rat--male and female

Distinction would be made by adding "macho" or "hembra."

El águila macho - the eagle--male
El avestruz hembra - the ostrich--female

N.B.--Most of the names of animals belong to this class.

The term "ambiguo" is applied to nouns which are masculine or feminine, with different meaning, or the gender of which is not well defined:

Análasis (analysis), doubtful gender

,

El aroma - the aroma La aroma - the acacia flower
La or el arte - the art Los or Las artes - the arts, generally _fem_.
Las bellas artes - the fine arts, always _fem_.
La barba - the beard El barba - a character in Spanish plays
El cabecilla - chieftain or ringleader of rebels La cabecilla - the little head
El calavera - the madcap La calavera - the skull
El canal - the canal La canal - the gutter
El capital - money La capital - the town
El cólera - cholera La cólera - wrath
El cometa - comet La cometa - the kite, _toy_
El corte - the cut La corte - the court
El cura - the priest La cura - the cure
El doblez - the fold La doblez - duplicity
El or la dote - dowry, generally _fem_. in the _pl_. always _fem_. Las dotes - good parts, gifts
El fantasma - the phantom La fantasma - the bogie-man
El frente - the front La frente - the forehead
El haz - the sheaf La haz - face, surface
Lente - lenses, doubtful gender
La orden - command, order for goods, etc. El orden (order); as, buen orden - good order
Las sagradas órdenes - holy orders Las varias órdenes - various religious orders
El parte - report La parte - part
El pendiente - ear-ring La pendiente - slope
El pez - fish La pez - pitch
El tema - exercise, theme La tema - fear, obstinacy
Tilde - ~, doubtful gender

"Mar" (sea) is either Masc. or fem., but names of particular seas are all masculine:

El mar rojo - the Red Sea
El mar Caspio - the Caspian Sea

The compounds of "mar" are feminine:

Baja mar - low sea
Pleamar - high water

The following masculine nouns have their equivalent feminine formed by inflexion:

We omit those in which the inflexion consists of the change of the last vowel to a, or the addition of a, as:

El autor, la autora - the author, authoress
El holgazán, la holgazana - the lazy man, lazy woman
El primo, la prima - the cousin, _masc._ and _fem._
El vecino, la vecina - the neighbour, _masc._ and _fem._

El abad - abbot La abadesa - abbess
El actor - actor La actriz - actress
El barón - baron La baronesa - baroness
El canónigo - canon La canonesa - canoness
El cantor - singer La cantatriz - singer
El conde - count La condesa - countess
El diacono - deacon La diaconisa - deaconess
El duque - duke La duquesa - duchess
El elector - elector La electriz - electress
El emperador - emperor La emperatriz - empress
El filósofo - philosopher La filosofesa - philosopher
El gallo - cock La gallina - hen
El héroe - hero La heroína - heroine
El poeta - poet La poetisa - poetess
El principe - prince La princesa - princess
El profeta - prophet La profetisa - prophetess
El rey - king La reina - queen
El sacerdote - priest La sacerdotisa - priestess
El vizconde - viscount La vizcondesa - viscountess
El Zar - czar La Zarina - czarina

Notice also:

El asistente - assistant La asistenta - assistant
El infante - child under 7; also Span., Royal Prince La infanta - child; Span. Royal Princess
El pariente - relative La parienta - relative
El presidente - president La presidenta - president
El sirviente - manservant La sirvienta - maidservant

There are only a few more of this class.

N.B.:

Un abogado makes in the fem. Una muger abogado
Un médico " " " " " médico
Un comadrón " " " " comadre (midwife)

The following nouns of persons and animals have two different forms to represent the two sexes:
El buey - ox La vaca - cow
El caballo - stallion La yegua - mare
El carnero - ram La oveja - ewe
El fraile - friar La soror - sister
El hombre - man La mujer - woman
El macho cabrío or cabrón - he-goat La cabra - she-goat
El marido - husband La mujer - the wife
El padre - father La madre - mother
El padrastro - step-father La madrastra - step-mother
El padrino - god-father La madrina - god-mother
El toro - bull La vaca - cow
El yerno - son-in-law La nuera - daughter-in-law

Many names of animals are either common, as:

El ánade, la ánade - the duck
El liebre, la liebre - the hare
El tigre, la tigre - the tiger, tigress

Or they change o of the masculine into a or add a, to form the feminine, as:

Un ganso - a gander Una gansa - a goose
Un león - the lion Una leona - a lioness
Un mulo - a mule Una mula - a she-mule
Un pollino - an ass Una pollina - a she-ass

Most are epicene as already stated (p. 246).




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