In Spanish, all nouns (people, places and things) are given a masculine or feminine gender.  It doesn't mean that these things are more feminine or masculine.  Gender is just a way to organize the language.  

el círculo  (masculine noun)

la flecha  (feminine noun)

When talking about male and female animals, the gender classification of the language follows the scientific classification:

el pato
male duck

la pata
female duck

Masculine nouns will often end in the letter -o, and feminine nouns will often end in the letter -a.  However, many words don't end in -o or -a.  The easiest way to tell the gender of a noun is to look at the word right in front of it. El is the masculine word for the, and la is the feminine word for the

la luz  (feminine noun)  
the light

el pez  (masculine noun)  
the fish

In Spanish, there are 4 words for the, depending on the gender and number of the noun.  

 the  Singular  Plural
 Masculine  el los 
 Feminine la  las 

Notice in the chart that there are 2 masculine, 2 feminine, 2 singular and 2 plural words for the.  That because when you have a plural noun, the word the is also plural.  We'll cover that more in another grammar lesson.

Take a look at the words from 1.1J and 1.1K.  Notice the words los, las, el, and la?  All those words mean the.  


la forma
the shape

las formas  
the shapes

el número
the number

los números
the numbers

When you want to say that you have a certain number of things, or that they're your things, drop the word the.


dos formas
2 shapes

mi color favorito
my favorite color

Change the gender

If you know the word for a male animal, for example duck - el pato - and you want the word for the female animal, follow these steps:
  1. change the masculine the to the feminine the 
  2. change the -o ending on the noun to -a

Therefore, the way to say female duck is la pata.

More information:
  1. if the noun ends in -ón, -or, -és, or -ol, add an a and drop the accent: -ona, -ora, -esa, ola
  2. if the noun ends in other letters, there is usually no change 


  1. Nouns in Spanish are classified by gender. 
  2. The easiest way to tell the gender of a noun is by the word the (el  = masculine, la  = feminine). 
  3. Change a noun's gender from masculine to feminine by changing the word the from el to la, and ...
    1. If the word ends in -o, change it to -a.
    2. If the word ends in -ón, -ol, or -or, add an a (and don't use an accent mark).