Spanish Nouns  

Spanish Nouns Common & Proper Nouns

Nouns are names of people, places, things as well as ideas and concepts. Nouns give names to:

People: Héctor is our instructor.
Animals: What kind of dog is Argentine dog?
Places: UCSD is located in California.
Concrete Things: Ramón lost his keys.
Actions: Running through the city can be difficult.
Feelings: I feel joy when I see Soledad.
Abstract Ideas: María's personal philosophy is wierd.
Abstract Qualities: Concepción says Mario lacks sensitivity.

The noun in Spanish has only two possible genders.

Nouns denoting male beings are Masculine.

Nouns denoting female beings are Feminine.

When there is no real gender, nouns are called masculine or feminine
according to their terminations.

GENERAL RULE.--All nouns that terminate in a, ión, d, also abstract
nouns ending in "ez", are feminine, as:

  • La villa: The town.
  • La nación: The nation.
  • La ciudad: The city or large town.
  • La honradez: Honesty.

The other terminations are masculine.

There are many exceptions to the above rule, principally in nouns ending
in "E."

English words ending in "tion" end in "ción" in Spanish.
(Note the accent.)
Formation of the Plural of Nouns
Nouns ending in a vowel which is not stressed and also nouns ending in
"E" bearing the stress, add S to form the plural.

All others add Es.


  1. Nouns ending in "Z" in the singular change it into Ces.
  2. Nouns ending in "S" do not change unless the last syllable is


    El amo: The master. Los amos: The masters.
    El cuñado: The brother-in-law. Los cuñados: The brothers-in-law.
    La cuñada: The sister-in-law. Las cuñadas: The sisters-in-law.
    El yerno: The son-in-law. Los yernos: The sons-in-law.
    La nuera: The daughter-in-law. Las nueras: The daughters-in-law.
    El árbol: The tree. Los árboles: The trees.
    El examen: The examination. Los exámenes: The examinations.
    El lápiz: The pencil. Los lápices: The pencils.
    El ómnibus: The omnibus. Los ómnibus: The omnibuses.
    El jabalí: The boar. Los jabalíes: The boars.

  3. Nouns ending in "Y" add Es, as:

    El rey: The king. Los reyes: The kings.
    La ley: The law. Las leyes: The laws.

  4. The following add only S to form the plural:

    Papá, Mamá, Bajá (a pasha), Sofá (sofa).

Words ending in accented vowels are very few and the rule
for those ending in á, ó, ú is not very strict.
Compound Nouns form their plural according to sense, as--
Hijodalgo (a gentleman by birth), literally, "son of something"; Plu.,
Hijosdalgo (literally, "sons of something ").
Ferrocarril (railway), literally, "iron railroad"; Plu., Ferrocarriles
(literally, "iron railroads").

Such nouns are rare.

A verb as a component part does not change, as El
portabandera (the standard-bearer), Los portabanderas (the

1. The gender of names of countries, provinces, and towns is according to their termination, but those ending in "d" are generally masculine.

Exceptions are found, the names "ciudad" or "pueblo" being then understood.

2. Names of trees are masculine, those of fruits are feminine.

  • La higuera (the fig-tree)
  • La palma (the palm-tree)
  • La viña (the vine-tree)
  • El dátil (the date)
  • El pistacho (the pistachio-nut)
  • El higo (the fig)
  • El melocotón (the peach)
  • El albérchigo (the peach)
  • El durazno (the apricot)
  • El albaricoque (the apricot)
  • El mango (the mango)

And a few more.

3. A masculine article is used with other parts of speech whole sentences used substantively, as:

  • Quiero un sí ó un no claro: I want a clear (decisive) yes or no.
  • El aprender es útil: Learning is useful.
  • El que lo haya hecho sin consultarme no puede serme de grande gusto: That he did it without consulting me is certainly not pleasing to me.

A list of principal exceptions to the rule given on Spanish gender by termination is given in Exceptions to the Rules on Gender and Termination.

To the rules for the formation of the plural (Lesson: The Noun) we shall add:

1. Family names ending in "z" unstressed do not change:

  • Juan Fernández: Los Señores Fernández
  • But:El Sr. Ruiz: Los Señores Ruices

2. The names of the vowels pluralize in "es": Las aes, las ees, las íes, las oes, las úes.

3. Some Latin words used in Spanish, as: Accessit, déficit, fiat, ultimatum, agnus dei, etc., do not change for the plural, except: Album: álbumes.

Collective nouns in Spanish are generally followed by the verb in the singular, as: La gente piensa: People think.

But after a collective noun, indefinite in its meaning, the verb may follow in the plural, as: Una cantidad de géneros se vendió, or vendieron en subasta: A quantity of goods was or were sold by auction.

N.B.:The tendency of the language is in favour of the singular.

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