Created using FigmaCreated using FigmaCreated using FigmaCreated using Figma

Feminine nouns starting with a stressed "a" take some masculine articles and quantifiers

In Spanish, nouns that start with a stressed "a" (or "ha-") are feminine, but they follow a specific rule when they are accompanied by articles and quantifiers.

With the Artículo definido

These words take the singular definite article el (not la):

El agua.
The water.

El ala.
The wing.

This would be difficult to pronounce:

  • La agua
  • La ala

They are incorrect.

However it is different when using the plural definite article los/las (the plural). They DO take las (not los).

Las aguas.
The waters.

Las alas.
The wings.

With the Artículo indefinido

With the indefinite articles un/una (= a plural), although un is more commonly used, una is also acceptable and not considered incorrect.

Un agua.
A water. (Referring to a bottle of water for example)

Un ala.
A wing.

Una agua.
A water.

Una ala.
A wing.

Both plurals unos/unas are also acceptable.

Unos aguas. Unas aguas.
Some waters.

Unos alas. Unas alas.
Some wings.

Be careful because if there is an adjective between the article and the noun, then everything is in the feminine form!

El claro agua.

La clara agua.
The clear water.

Un bueno hacha.

Una buena hacha.
A good axe.

With parts of speech like the Adjetivo demostrativo, the Adjetivo posesivo or the Adjetivo indefinido, their feminine singular and plural form is used. For example:

Esta agua/ Estas aguas. 
Este agua/ Estos aguas. 
This water/these waters.

Mucha agua/Muchas aguas.
Mucho agua/Muchos aguas.
A lot of water/lots of waters.

Nuestra agua/Nuestras aguas.
Nuestro agua/Nuestros aguas.
Our water/our waters.

Exceptions: 

The names of the letters -h- (hache) and -a- (a) are exceptions to this rule. They DO take la, (not el).

La hache.
El hache.
The [letter] h.

La a.
El a.
The [letter] a.

La hache y la a son dos letras del alfabeto español.
[The] aitch and [the] a are two letters in the Spanish alphabet.

Here is a list containing some common words that follow this rule:

Feminine words that take article "el" not "la".

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Un ala.
A wing.


Una buena hacha.
A good axe.


Las alas.
The wings.


La clara agua.
The clear water.


Las aguas.
The waters.


Un agua.
A water. (Referring to a bottle of water for example)


Una ala.
A wing.


El ala.
The wing.


Unos alas. Unas alas.
Some wings.


Una agua.
A water.


El agua.
The water.


Unos aguas. Unas aguas.
Some waters.


Q&A

allison

Kwiziq community member

16 May 2018

1 reply

Nouns that take masculine article

Why is "la hambre" not like "la hache"?

Inma

Kwiziq language super star

17 May 2018

17/05/18

Hi Allison,


We say "el hambre" not "la hambre" because in this case it follows the general rule for words starting with a "stressed a or ha", which take the article "el" and not "la".


The word "hache" should follow the same rule, but it is an exception, as stated in the lesson.


Un saludo


Inma

Find your Spanish level for FREE

Test your Spanish to the CEFR standard

find your Spanish level

Share the love!

I'll be right with you...