Beginner Lessons
Spanish Articles and Nouns

Spanish Articles and Nouns

In addition to the web version, you can download the lesson as a PDF, found at the bottom of the page.

Spanish Articles and Nouns

If you’ve been following along the Beginner Series, you might have questions on Spanish grammar, like nouns, verbs, subjects and articles and how they interact.

The following is an overview that will help you begin to understand how sentences are constructed in Spanish.

Singular articles for singular nouns

In Spanish, nouns have gender. That is, they can be masculine (el) or feminine (la). Both el and la mean the in English.

el

la

el niño
the boy

la niña
the girl

el carro
the car

la casa
the house

el gato
the cat

la vaca
the cow

The general rule is:

Masculine nouns usually end in –o and use the article el

Feminine nouns usually end in –a and use the article la

Above is the case for singular nouns, like boy, girl, car and house. But what if there’s more than one girl or more than one house?

Plural articles for plural nouns

Masculine plural nouns use the article los.
Feminine plural nouns use the article las.

Let’s change the table above into plural nouns:

el

los

el niño
the boy


los niños
the boys


el carro
the car


los carros
the cars


el gato
the cat


los gatos
the cats

la

las

la niña
the girl


las niñas
the girls


la casa
the house


la casas
the houses


la vaca
the cow


las vacas
the cows


Singular to plural change like this:

Masculine nouns change el to los
Feminine nouns change la to las

Then for both sets, add an –s to the end of the noun:
Example: el niño = the boy; los niños = the boys

Spanish Articles and Nouns

Up to this point we’ve looked at definite articles—this just means they’re specific.

The next set of articles are called indefinite articles—they’re general and non-specific.

Compare these examples to understand the differences.

Definite article: The speaker wants a specific pen

¿Me puedes traer la pluma que está en la mesa?

Can you bring me the pen that is on the table?

Indefinite article: The speaker just wants any pen

¿Me puedes traer una pluma, por favor?

Can you bring me a pen, please?

Now that you know the difference, let’s move on to indefinite articles.

When singular, these are the words a and an in English.

el

la

un niño
a boy

una niña
a girl

un carro
a car

una casa
a house

un gato
a cat

una vaca
a cow

Again, let’s make them plural.

un

unos

un niño
a boy


unos niños
some/a few boys


un carro
a car


unos carros
some/ a few cars


un gato
a cat


unos gatos
some/ a few cats

una

unas

una niña
a girl


unas niñas
some/ a few girls


una casa
a house


unas casas
some/ a few houses


una vaca
a cow


unas vacas
some/ a few cows


The set of rules from earlier, adjusted for indefinite articles for making them plural.

Masculine nouns change un to unos
Feminine nouns change una to unas

For both sets, add an –s to the end of the noun:
Example: una niña = a girl; unas niñas = some girls

Spanish Articles and Nouns

Indefinite articles can be thought of as some, or a few:

Unas niñas juegan fútbol, mientras otras les gusta practicar tenis.

Some girls play soccer, while others like to practice tennis.

A few girls
play soccer, while others…

That should take you from 0% to 95% in terms of:

  • explanation of articles
  • masculine vs feminine articles and nouns
  • the difference between definite and indefinite articles
  • how to change singular nouns to plural nouns

There are a few exceptions to making singular nouns plural. Think:

Box: boxes or dish: dishes

But there’s not a ton of them, so we’ll ignore them for now 😉

If you found this helpful, check out Lesson 14 for a look at how to refer to people in Spanish.