Spanish is a more gendered language than English. All nouns must take either a masculine or a feminine gender. As in English, nouns also indicate number (singular or plural). Spanish adjectives also take genders and numbers. The gender and number of an adjective must agree with the noun that it modifies.
Gender of Spanish Nouns and Adjectives
Nouns that refer to males are masculine and nouns that refer to females are feminine. So señor (Mr.) would be masculine, while señora and señorita (Mrs. And Miss) would be feminine. A man’s name would also be considered a masculine noun, and a woman’s name a feminine noun.
Spanish nouns and adjectives ending in –o are usually masculine as well. Nouns and adjectives ending in –a, -dad, -ción, and –z are usually feminine. Libro (book) and niño (child/son) are masculine nouns, and mucho (many) is a masculine adjective. Conversely, oficina (office), nacionalidad (nationality), lección (lesson), and luz (light) are all considered feminine.
A noun or adjective that ends in –e, on the other hand, can be either masculine or feminine. In this case, the gender of the noun/adjective would depend on the person or thing that it refers to. You can usually change a masculine noun or adjective ending in –o into a feminine noun or adjective simply by changing the –o to an –a. For a masculine noun/adjective ending in a consonant, simply add an –a to the end of the word to convert it to feminine. Keep in mind that these rules apply in most, but not all, cases. Plenty of Spanish nouns and adjectives deviate from them.
Making Spanish Nouns and Adjectives Plural
The basic rules for making singular Spanish nouns and adjectives plural are fairly straightforward. A noun ending in a vowel simply takes a final –s to make its plural form:
Nouns and adjectives ending in consonants take a final –es in order to become plural:
A singular noun ending in –z is made plural by dropping the final –z and adding –ces in its place:
Note: When making a noun ending in –ción plural, remember to drop the accent mark. For example, the plural lecciones loses the accent found in the singular lección.
Plurality and Mixed Groups
Spanish uses masculine plural nouns and adjectives to refer to mixed groups of both masculine and feminine people and things. So while the singular masculine noun español refers explicitly to a Spanish man, the plural españoles can refer to a group of Spanish men, a group of Spanish men and women, or Spanish people in general. Similarly, the plural masculine adjective nuevos (new) can be used with plural masculine nouns or a masculine and a feminine noun.