Go to the bottom of the page for worksheets to practice this skill.
Below are the ways to say “the” and “a/an/some” in Spanish. It is a little more complicated in Spanish because the articles have to agree with the noun in gender and number.
el = the (for nouns that are singular and masculine
la = the (for nouns that are singular and feminine
los = the (for nouns that are masculine and plural
las = the (for nouns that are feminine and plural)
el libro = the book
la casa = the house
los libros = the books
las casas = the houses
un = the (for nouns that are singular and masculine
una = the (for nouns that are singular and feminine
unos = the (for nouns that are masculine and plural
unas = the (for nouns that are feminine and plural)
un libro = a book
una casa = a house
unos libros = some books
unas casas = some houses
How to Know if Noun Is Feminine or Masculine
English speakers can understand that a noun needs an article before it. It is also pretty easy to see that, if a noun is masculine, it needs the masculine version of the article. The same goes for feminine nouns. When the noun is plural it needs the plural form of the article. So, before choosing an article we decide on gender and if it is singular or plural. The challange is to figure out if a noun is masculine or feminine. Unfortunately sometimes there is no indicator to tell you which one to choose. You just have to memorize if the gender of the noun. Luckily there are some patterns that are basically consistant.
Indicators that a noun is masculine:
nouns that refer to a male being
most nouns that end in “o”
Indicators that a noun is feminine:
nouns that refer to a female being
most nouns that end in “a”
most nouns ending in “ión”, “tad” and “dad”
For any noun that doesn’t fall under one of these categories one must memorize the gender to determine which article to use.