Spanish NounThe classic definition of a noun is "a person, place, thing, or idea." The English word noun and its Spanish equivalent un nombre both come from the Latin word nomen, meaning "name." So a noun is something concrete or abstract that can be named, and that can be the subject of a verb, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition. All of the nouns in this paragraph are underlined.
Subject: La casa es grande. The house is big.
Object of verb: Yo veo la casa. I see the house
Object of preposition: Yo voy a la casa. I'm going to the house.
Spanish nouns and gender
In Spanish, all nouns have a gender: they are either masculine or feminine. For example:
- man - un hombre
- woman - una mujer
- truck - un camión
- car - un coche
- speech- un discurso
- idea - una idea
The singular articles un and una indicate the gender of the above nouns: un hombre, un camión, un coche and un discurso are masculine, while una mujer and una idea are feminine.
But what about when there isn't an article, or the article is plural? What if you see, for example, Yo he comido manzanas (I have eaten apples) - how do you know the gender of manzanas? Unfortunately, there's no simple way to know the gender of every Spanish noun - you have to look it up or ask someone and then remember it for each noun. The best way to do this is to make sure your vocabulary lists always include articles so that you learn the gender with each noun. That said, there are some word endings that tend to be one gender or the other, but this only applies to a limited number of Spanish nouns.
We can say that a noun ending in -o is generally masculine and a noun ending in -a is generally feminine.
In addition to articles, the gender of a noun affects adjectives as well as pronouns, so it's essential to know the gender of every Spanish noun.
Spanish nouns and number
Nouns also have number: they are either singular or plural. For example:
- balloon - un globo
- balloons- unos globos
- house - una casa
- three houses - tres casas
- lorry - un camión
- lorries - unos camiones
The -s at the end of globos and casas lets you know that these words are plural, while globo and casa are singular. If you notice the plural of camiones where -es is added, that tells you that when the singular of a noun ends in a consonant, like camión to form the plural you need to add -es.