Most Spanish nouns ending in u and i are masculine

In Spanish there aren't many common nouns that end in -u or -i, but most of them with very few exceptions are masculine.

Most of these words are stressed on the last syllable and therefore have a written accent: ú, í. Here are some examples:

El menú de hoy incluye postre y bebida gratis.Today's fixed-price menu includes a free dessert and drink.

He comprado un champú especial para el cabello seco.I've bought a special shampoo for dry hair.

Los exploradores intentaron construir un iglú para usarlo como refugio.The explorers tried to build an igloo to use as a shelter.

-¿Cúal es tu piedra preciosa favorita? -Para mí es el rubí sin duda.-What's your favourite precious stone? -For me it's undoubtedly rubies. [lit: the ruby]

Había un maniquí en el escaparate que parecía una persona de verdad.There was a mannequin in the window that looked like a real person.

El libro mostraba imágenes de un colibrí de color azul precioso.The book showed images of a beautiful blue hummingbird.

El maní tostado y salado está riquísimo.Toasted and salted peanuts are yummy. [lit: the toasted and salted peanut]

As you can see, all these nouns have masculine articles as they are masculine.

Here are some nouns that end in -u or -i but that where the stress is not on the last syllable. They are also masculine.

Se nota en el ambiente el espíritu navideño.You can feel the Christmas spirit in the air. [lit: in the atmosphere]

El olor del pachuli impregnaba la sala.The smell of pachuli filled the room.

Exception

Bear in mind that the noun tribu (tribe) is feminine:

En la tribu dinka de Sudán las mujeres se afeitan las cabezas y las cejas.Women from the Dinka tribe in Sudan shave their heads and eyebrows.

 

What about their plurals?

Some of these nouns form their plurals adding an -s and some add -es. The Spanish Royal Academy acceps both plural forms for most of them. 

Take a look at this list of the most common nouns (singular and plural) ending in ú, í, u and i

 

 

 

 

 

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Examples and resources

-¿Cúal es tu piedra preciosa favorita? -Para mí es el rubí sin duda.-What's your favourite precious stone? -For me it's undoubtedly rubies. [lit: the ruby]
He comprado un champú especial para el cabello seco.I've bought a special shampoo for dry hair.
El maní tostado y salado está riquísimo.Toasted and salted peanuts are yummy. [lit: the toasted and salted peanut]
Los exploradores intentaron construir un iglú para usarlo como refugio.The explorers tried to build an igloo to use as a shelter.
Había un maniquí en el escaparate que parecía una persona de verdad.There was a mannequin in the window that looked like a real person.
El menú de hoy incluye postre y bebida gratis.Today's fixed-price menu includes a free dessert and drink.
En la tribu dinka de Sudán las mujeres se afeitan las cabezas y las cejas.Women from the Dinka tribe in Sudan shave their heads and eyebrows.
El olor del pachuli impregnaba la sala.The smell of pachuli filled the room.
Se nota en el ambiente el espíritu navideño.You can feel the Christmas spirit in the air. [lit: in the atmosphere]
El libro mostraba imágenes de un colibrí de color azul precioso.The book showed images of a beautiful blue hummingbird.
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