Masculine vs Feminine
Just remembered this from a Spanish class long ago, of course it isn't true 100% of the time but generally words that end with "dIONza" or d, ion, z, or a are feminine. Hope this helps and correct me if I'm wrong!
You're right Glenm10! Here are the two words that I learned to help me remember masculine/feminine words: LAWRENCE (L, O, R, E, N, S) - Masculine DAZCÍON (D, A, Z, CÍON) - Feminine
And you're right that there ARE exceptions!! Here is a list of the most common exceptions to the "masculine o, feminine a" rule: you'll have to memorize: http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/genderreversal.htm
Poco a poco, paso a paso ¿no? Cheers! <> Chévere
Personally, I invented a little rule for myself called the 'lorry' rule. if the last letter ends in one of the letters l, o, r or y, it is often masculine, otherwise it often is feminine. It's good to use when you guess. There are plenty of exceptions of course, e.g. el dia, la mano etc. and words ending in -te and -ma are often masculine