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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

Words that change meaning when they change gender

As you may know by now, gender is very important in Spanish. There are a number of words that change their meaning when they change gender and others whose meaning is affected by the gender of the article that precedes them.

masculine
noun
meaning feminine
noun
meaning
arco arch, football net arca ark,chest
barco ship barca small ship
bolo bowling pin bola ball
caño pipe caña cane, rod
cargo position carga load
cartero postman cartera handbag
caso file, case casa house
cero zero cera wax
cigarro cigar cigarra cicada
foco bulb foca seal
palo stick pala shovel
partido match partida departure
pato duck pata leg (furniture)
peso weight pesa weight,
dumbbell
(the object you lift to train)
puerto port puerta door
punto dot, period ❤❤❤❤❤ tip
noun with el with la
capital investment capital city
cólera cholera anger
coma coma comma
cometa comet kite
corte cut court
editorial opinion article publishing house
frente front forehead
guía guide guidebook
papa The Pope potato
parte document part

Share your learning experience!

Have you ever confused any of these? Which of these didn’t you know?

September 11, 2017

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AKicsiMacska

Plato- plate

Plata- silver

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

Good one! Thanks

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AKicsiMacska

Thank you! I've found that they are not that hard to differentiate, because they have completely different meanings! I think remembering something like "El guia" and "La guia" would be much more difficult"

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Avian

"El Papa (The Pope)" really threw me off. xD

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ISpeakAlien

Popes are known to like potatoes, right?.

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TomasCastro2

Hay un trabalenguas en español que dice así: "Una papa Papa, una papa Papa papá, una papa Papa papá de papas, una papa Papa papá de papas Papas".

September 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BelgianStr

I've mixed up partido with departure(partida) before a few times...

Could someone tell me a little bit about the difference between el guia and la guia? And their plurals?

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

EL guía is the actual person who guides you, LA guía is tipically the guidebook, such as la guía telefónica (the phone book); however, it might also be the feminine for the guide(person). Is that clearer?

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BelgianStr

Oh, that is a big difference. Gracias.

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/elizadeux

I wondered if a female guide is still called "el guía." So "la guía" can also be a person?

September 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

exactly, la guía is also the female guide. Gender can be tricky, right?

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ian.Worthington

My first faux pas was asking a workmate how her "ceno" was the previous night.

(cena = dinner, senos = breasts)

September 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DoomBom

Seno can also mean sine (a trigonometric function).

September 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/P-Code

Haha, El Papa, la papa, and el papá. Well, English has a bunch of homonyms.

September 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nomaur2

Wait, I thought papa meant dad. :I

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olgaz007

that would be papá - with an accent

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nomaur2

Oh. :D

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

You have cigarra in the masculine column and cigarro in the feminine column. Are they really el cigarra and la cigarro?

Meanwhile, how about a female duck? Would she be una pato (since pata is a furniture leg instead of a duck)?

September 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RennaLink

It would be "el cigarro" (masculine) and "la cigarra" (feminine). I think in the chart they made a mistake, but they already changed it.

In this case "pata" has two meanings. A female duck would be "una pata", "la pata". When you say "pata" you'll know the meaning by the context. I hope that responds your questions.

September 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MatheusDSGM

Pata also means paw. Pata as a female duck is almost never used, actually it was recently added to the dictionary, I think "pato hembra" (female duck) is a more common term

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wolfiedagirl

All of them, actually

September 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vento.

I'm Brazilian, the differences of gender are very common in Portuguese as well, but it's not rare to confuse the false cognates, particularly when you are just starting to learn Spanish. Actually it happens much more often. :)

September 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davont7

la mama

September 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olgaz007

la pasta - pasta

el pasto - grass

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

good one!

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MatheusDSGM

Pasto is not just grass, it is only grass used to feed animals, which is also called "pasture" in English. The act of eating pasto is known as "pastar"

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olgaz007

It seems that in Latin America pasto = césped

http://dle.rae.es?w=pasto

http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/pasto

September 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/HelpfulDuo

You are both right. césped and pasto are equivalents in some parts of Latin America. However, it is also pastura and cattle eat that in the activity called pastar. Thanks for your contributions!

September 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/somelauw

el bolso la bolsa

I don't know the difference, both say 'bag' in the dictionary.

September 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paulalock

Here in Andalucia "bolso" is a handbag and "bolsa" is a plastic carrier bag!

September 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/somelauw

So a bolso is

and a bolsa is

September 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tolovito

Dish también puede ser usado como plato. Dish also can be used like plate it´s a synonym.

September 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Leo-Smith

really useful

September 18, 2017
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