Index of Lessons on Nouns
Spanish nouns represent concrete objects, groups and classes of objects, qualities, feelings and other abstractions. Spanish nouns must be either masculine or feminine. Any descriptive adjective associated with the noun must agree in both gender and number. As with all the sections in this course, this section begins with basic lessons and continues to more advanced lessons.
|Resources Spanish Grammar Spanish Nouns|
This section deals with noun forms , noun functions and pronouns.
Noun Forms: The noun features of number and gender are important for making correct agreement with adjectives in the noun phrase.
Number: English pluralizes any noun by adding -s. Spanish adds -s to words ending in vowels [el libro los libros = 'the books'], and -es to words ending in consonants [el tren los trenes = 'the trains']. Spanish and English can differ on whether the concept represented by the noun is singular or plural [las vacaciones = 'vacation''].
Gender: All Spanish nouns are marked for gender; they are either masculine or feminine. Adjectives agree [change form] in gender with the noun they modify [el carro nuevo = 'the new car' vs. la casa nueva = 'the new house']. There are few fairly reliable endings that indicate whether the noun is masculine [-o, -r, -l, -ama, -ema], or feminine [-a, -d, -ión, -is, -umbre, -z]. Of course, exceptions abound [la mano = 'hand', el día = 'day', etc.]. Noun gender and real world gender [sex of the referent] produce interesting situations. Nouns referring to occupations and social roles are changing in gender is as women become established in them [el medico el/la médico el médico/la médica = 'male/female doctor'].
Noun Functions: In both Spanish and English, nouns (or noun phrases) have one of the following six "functions" in an action/event: subject, predicate noun, direct object, indirect object, object of a preposition, or comparative term.
A key point: Unlike the English present participle (-ing form), the Spanish present participle (-ando/-iendo form) may not function as a noun [La pesca es muy divertido. // Pescar es muy divertido. = 'Fishing is great fun'. not Pescando es muy divertido.]
Pronouns: Pronouns are place-holders for nouns. They allow the speaker/writer to maintain reference without repeating the noun. Pronouns can be definite (refer to a specific noun) or indefinite (no specific referent). Important pronoun types include:
1. General pronouns are indefinite pronouns like alguien = 'someone", nadie = "nobody" , etc.
2. Each noun function (subject, direct object, indirect object, prepositional object, etc.) has a related set of pronouns we will call function-related pronouns.
3. Reflexive pronouns are object pornouns that refer back to the subject. The third person reflexive se has a variety of functions/meanings that must be differentiated.
4. Derived pronouns are formed from other parts of speech and larger noun phrases. English replaces the noun with the pronoun 'one" while Spanish deletes the noun. [el carro rojo el rojo = 'the red car' 'the red one'].