In the test question: ¿Quién es ________ de tus amigos? (Who is the most generous of your friends?)
I incorrectly assumed that because "de tus amigos" doesn't specify the gender of "Quien es" in Spanish, that "lo" would be appropriate rather than "el" (correct answer). Because only the response can reveal the gender e.g. - "Carla es la más generosa de mis amigos" o "Jorge es el más generoso de mis amigos". In other words, why is "el" correct in this case even if the "quién es" might turn out to be female? (I did notice that the hint was "generous = generoso" but (falsely?) assumed it was being generic rather than specifying un amigo masculino).
Can you please clarify?
As Paul was saying, "de tus amigos" is referring to a general group of friends where female and male friends are included, but if we are using it this way where the ending is -os, then we need to use the masculine article "el mejor de tus amigos". If we were clearly asking who the most generous of someone's female friends is, then we need "la más generosa de...":
¿Quién es la más generosa de tus amigas?
La más generosa de mis amigas es María.
Here as a contrast is an example using "lo" as a neuter article in a similar sentence, for you to see its usage more clearly:
-¿Qué es lo mejor de tus amigos?
-Lo mejor de mis amigos es su generosidad.
What is the best [thing] about your friends?
The best [thing] about my friends is their generosity.
I hope this helps clarifying it.
Hello, you are overthinking the gender here. You are correct in saying that "los amigos" could include females, in fact in could be 99 females and 1 male, however once that the gender of the noun "amigos" has been set by the rules, the adjective "generoso" has also been set, and therefore the "el más generoso de tus amigos" is set.
I'm not going to get into the gender politics of 99 women and 1 man being called "amigos", that's for another set of people :-)
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