https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amy158673

I’m confused

I am struggling to understand when to use el or la in front of words could someone please explain it to me

January 19, 2018

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Danielle750294

You use "la" in front of feminine words, and "el" in front of masculine words. :)

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amy158673

I get that, but forgive me if I sound stupid, I don’t get what’s masculine or feminine in like foods ect?

January 19, 2018

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

It just is. Grammatical gender isn't particularly concerned with biology.

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pv1204
  • 1061
January 19, 2018

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

The Tips and Notes are always a good place to look. The very first lesson mentions a little bit about how to tell the difference between masculine and feminine nouns.

https://www.duolingo.com/skill/es/Basics-1

Masculine nouns often end in -o, you use el and un

Feminine nouns often end in -a and use la and una

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Amy158673

Thank you, but I am struggling to understand how to use it with foods and animals ect ....

January 19, 2018

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

every noun in Spanish is either Masculine or Feminine, it has nothing to do with boys and girls. You have to learn the gender when you learn the word. There are some rules, the most basic one is

Masculine nouns often end in -o

Feminine nouns often end in -a

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jonathangrant00

In the Food skill if you see the word "Fresa", the A on the end of the word means it is most likely (not always but in the beginning of your tree almost always) going to need "La" in front of it. Same thing for most of the other words. There are a few exceptions right at the beginning but you should quickly figure out these false friends such as "Leche" which is feminine (needs a "la" in front of it) even though it ends in an "E". If it has an O at the end, use El in front.

January 19, 2018

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

There is a big non exception. Agua (water) is a feminine noun, but it needs "el", because of its initial a ("la" and this feminine "el" come from Old Spanish "ela" from Latin "illa").

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jonathangrant00

Yes, when I first started, that one bugged me all the time! I'm just trying not to confuse this person any more, hence the extra simplistic explanation.

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AVT891184

This is for the accent. When words than begin with a- or ha- are tónics (tonic syllabe) to avoid the phonetic fusion of the two a, in singular we put the article in masculin. For example: el águila, el asta, el alfa, el agua. But those nouns are still feminine, the proof is that if we put them in the plural they recover the feminine article: las águilas, las asta, las alfas, las aguas. Excuse my english, please.

January 19, 2018

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

AVT891184, it is the article in masculine, it is "feminine el". In (very) Old Spanish was "ela madre", "ela casa", "ela agua", "ela abuela" but "ela" became "la", excepting words with stressed "(h)a-" (in 1600's AD you could read "el abuela").

January 20, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GIJoe15

"el" would be in front of masculine words and la would be in front of feminine words.

January 19, 2018

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

If you are looking for a logical reason for a word being masculine or feminine; give up the search! There MAY have been a reason back in history, but for now, "it just is what it is". English doesn't use masculine/feminine/neuter, but it USED to. A boat is a "she", isn't it?

January 19, 2018

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

A boat is (often) a "she" because of naval custom, not because of linguistics.

January 19, 2018

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

But the custom came from linguistics

January 19, 2018

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

You'll need to learn them one by one. There are trends: words ended in o, r, l are masculine and words ended in a, e, d are feminine, but there are thousands of exceptions. A tricky group are feminine words that begin with stressed a, because they need a feminine "el": "el agua era fría y salada", "estä es el arma definitiva".

January 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KwaylaJone1

use it in the same place where you would use "the"

January 20, 2018

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

Right off the bat today I found 2 words were switched from masculine to feminine.

After practicing Tinycards Spanish "around the house" for 2 months, it was always "el cafetera" and "el comoda".

Today they came up as "la cafetera" and "la comoda".

I thought that those words were exceptions to the rule in the first place. That's not helpful to a new learner.

January 20, 2018
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