We are family!
Save 15% on all annual Premium plans »

Gender of nouns in Spanish: masculine

Gender of nouns in Spanish: masculine

In Spanish, all nouns have a gender: they are either masculine or feminine. Additionally, words such as adjectives and articles are usually inflected for gender to agree with the noun they modify. For example:

El chico alto. 
The tall boy.

Un tren rápido.
A fast train.

Todos los estudiantes.
All the students.

How to know whether a noun is masculine

There's no absolute rule for knowing a noun's gender - you simply have to learn the noun along with an indicator of its gender, such as the indefinite article (un bolígrafo).

But there are a few tendencies that can help you recognise some masculine words:

  • Most nouns that refer to male people and animals are masculine. (un hombre, un perro, un primo, el abuelo, etc.)
  • Most nouns that end in -o are generally masculine. (un gato, un globo, un cuadro, el cuaderno, etc.)

Note: Masculine is the default gender in agreement when referring to a group of mixed gender people or things (los padres, los hijos, los estudiantes, etc.).  For example:

Tiene dos hijos, Laura y Antonio.
They have two children, Laura and Antonio.

Los estudiantes de ese colegio son muy aplicados.
The students of that school are very motivated.

Mis padres están divorciados.
My parents are divorced.

Clever stuff happening!