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https://www.duolingo.com/ELIJAH745956

The rule of The for 'El' and 'La'

I've noticed that everything in masculine and feminine, but im trying to understand the rule when referring to things rather than people.

El Desayuno uses the masculine La cesa uses the feminine

At first i thought it was because El Desayuno ends in 'o' like nino and La cesa ends in 'a' like nina

But then

La moto is feminine and El coche is masculine.

Im so confused. Can someone explain the rule to me :p

3 years ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Ilmarien
Ilmarien
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The etymological answer - sometimes a word that ends in -o is actually a shortened form of a word that does not. La moto and la motocicleta and la foto and la fotografía, for example, so that explains why those two words in particular are feminine despite the endings.

Other times it'll be a case of foreign words being treated differently - there are a bunch of Greek origin words that end in -a and are masculine anyway. I think that's the story behind el programa being masculine. And sometimes words just evolve strangely and end up looking feminine even though they were clearly masculine in Latin.

And of course, sometimes there's no explanation at all. I agree with the others - never learn a word without its article. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble that way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Delta1212
Delta1212
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Grammatical gender in those languages that have it tends to be somewhat arbitrary. There will be some patterns to the meaning of gendered words, or their spelling, but there will also be exceptions.

So you were right, sort of, but there is no easy rule that will apply in 100% of cases.

The easiest way of learning gender is just to memorize it when you learn a new word. If you make sure to learn the article with the word, instead of just the word by itself, that isn't as hard as it sounds.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elizabeth261736

Although there are some general patterns for which words are masculine and which are feminine, the best way to approach it is to learn each noun with its gender.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Teenage_Polyglot

Typically, words that end in o will use "el", and words that end with a will use "la". However, there are rule breakers. Typically you will just need to memorize these words, as there are no big, all encompassing rules for these words.

One irregular rule is this: if a word stats with a (agua, aceite) it usually uses "el". So instead of having the tongue twister of "la agua" (double a's), you would say el agua. Happy learning!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Klgregonis
Klgregonis
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IN GENERAL Words that end in a are feminine. Words that end in ema, ima (problema (problem), clima (weather or climate)) are usually masculine, because these are borrowed from Greek.) Words that end in ión are feminine (exception, el avión (the airplane) Words that end in tad or dad are feminine. Words that end in o are masculine. Assuming that other words are masculine will make you right about 80% of the time (which is fine for a beginner, you'll get corrected, or at least be understood).

A confusing aspect of this is feminine words that use el as the definite article, such as agua and agula. If a word begins in a and the first syllable is stressed, the article el is used instead of la, but they behave as feminine nouns in all other senses. el agua roja (the red water) el águila bonita (the pretty eagle)

Common exceptions to the o and a rule are el mapa (the map), la mano (the hand)

You'll be correct 85 to 90% of the time with these rules.

3 years ago