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How to Use "El" or "La" in Spanish Based on Noun Endings

Learn how to know if you should use "el" or "la" based on the noun ending from Spanish teacher Andrea Cukier in this Howcast video.


Let us look at the endings of some words. Do you remember that there are a few endings that give us a clue, that tell us that a noun is feminine? Let us go over them.

The ending "ah," with an "a." For example, casa, moneda; these are feminine words. Feminine does not mean sex it means gender. It means that it will have a way of ending that will be coherent with the articles and the adjectives. So, our white house in Spanish is la casa blanca. I have to end everything with an 'a'. La casa blanca. That makes it feminine.

Okay, another type of word that are feminine are the ones ending in 'ion'. For example, la situacion, la accion. So if I wanted to put an adjective I would have to say la accion buena, the good action.

Other words that are feminine are the ones that end in 'ad', a-d, ad. For example, la sociedad, una calimidad. Words ending in 'ad' tend to be the same words as in English ending in 'et'. For example, sociedad is society. Calimidad is calamity.

Next we have words ending in 'iz.' 'Is' the sound 'is'. For example, la actriz, the actress. La emperatriz, the emperess.

Now it is your turn. I am going to give you words and you have to figure out whether to say el or la. That means is it going to be a feminine or a masculine word. How am I going to say the banana? El banana or la banana? That is right; la banana. Perro. That is right, el perro. Evolucion? That is right; la evolucion, the evolution. Let us see the next one; motocicleta? Yes, la motocicleta. Amigo? Yes, el amigo. Libro? Yes, it is el libro. And how about escuela? It is la escuela. And telefono? It ends in 'o'. That is right, el telefono.

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