Using el or la to say the (singular definite articles)

Look at these examples:

La casa es pequeña.
The house is small.

El gato es negro.
The cat is black.

El coche es rojo.
The car is red.

La mariposa es bonita.
The butterfly is beautiful.

Note that to express the + singular noun in Spanish, you use either el or la, depending on the gender of the noun it refers to:

- la for feminine singular nouns
- el for masculine singular nouns

 

Remember that in Spanish, like in all Latin languages, every noun is either masculine or feminine.


See also Using los or las to say the (plural definite articles)
and Using un, una to say a/an (singular indefinite articles).

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

La mariposa es bonita.
The butterfly is beautiful.


El coche es rojo.
The car is red.


La casa es pequeña.
The house is small.


El gato es negro.
The cat is black.


Q&A Forum 2 questions, 3 answers

JimA2Kwiziq community member

Adjective or past participle?

I wrote 'el fin de la semana pasada' and it was corrected to 'el fin de semana pasado'.  I can see why the definite article was dispensed with, but 'semana pasado'?  Surely the adjectival form of 'pasado/a' is used, rather than the past participle?

Asked 1 month ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Jim,

I am not quite sure which question you are referring to. In the set of questions for this lesson on the articles el/la, we are not testing "el fin de semana pasado". The adjective "pasado" is referring to "el fin", not "semana". This is why you need the masculine end -o for the adjective. If you said "last week" for example, then you'd need the feminine form "pasada", "la semana pasada". 

I hope this clarified it for you.

Saludos

Inma

Adjective or past participle?

I wrote 'el fin de la semana pasada' and it was corrected to 'el fin de semana pasado'.  I can see why the definite article was dispensed with, but 'semana pasado'?  Surely the adjectival form of 'pasado/a' is used, rather than the past participle?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

SuzyA1Kwiziq community member

Form of the definite and indefinite articles before a (feminine singlular) noun that starts with a vowel.

When a feminine singular noun starts with a vowel (or vowel sound) do we still use 'la' (or 'una'), or is there a rule similar to that in English for a / an?

   

Asked 3 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Suzy

In Spanish we use articles el/la (the) and un/una (a) in front of any noun regardless of which letter comes after, so, for example:

la casa/ una casa

la escuela / una escuela

el libro / un libro

el amigo / una amiga

We use un for masculine nouns and una for feminine nouns (to say "a ..." )

There is however a rule that affects nouns that start with vowel "a" or "ha" (when the stress is on that syllable), for example: agua (water)ala (wing)hambre (hunger)... in terms of articles. It is an advance lesson, but you can have a look here.

Un saludo

Inma

BenitoA0Kwiziq community member

Gracias, tus leccion de articulos spanish.  Ayudame muchos aprender spanyol. Gracias. 

Form of the definite and indefinite articles before a (feminine singlular) noun that starts with a vowel.

When a feminine singular noun starts with a vowel (or vowel sound) do we still use 'la' (or 'una'), or is there a rule similar to that in English for a / an?

   

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Let me take a look at that...