Definite and indefinite Spanish articles. What are they? When are they used? That’s what we will learn today.
Let’s dive right in!
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The Spanish language has definite and indefinite articles.
La and las are definite articles. Let’s learn more about these words!
In Spanish, there are four definite articles. They are el, la, los, las, and they are all equivalent to the English word “the”.
• el carro (the car)
• el mapa (the map)
• el avión (the airplane)
• la silla (the chair)
• la flor (the flower)
• la mesa (the table)
• los carros (the cars)
• los mapas (the maps)
• los aviones (the airplanes)
• las sillas (the chairs)
• las flores (the flower)
• las mesas (the table)
Are there any exceptions to the rules above? Yes, there is one.
Learn how to identify masculine and feminine nouns in the post called Spanish Gender Rules: Masculine and Feminine Nouns.
There is one special rule to use the definite article el in Spanish.
This rule applies to some nouns that start with the vowel “a”. The rule goes like this:
If a feminine noun starts with the vowel “a”, and that vowel is stressed, use the definite article el instead of la.
Let me explain.
In Spanish, articles agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify.
Therefore, we use feminine nouns with feminine articles. We say, for example, “la niña (the girl).”
Some feminine nouns start with the vowel “a” in Spanish. Some examples are agua (water), águila (eagle), aula (classroom), and ave (bird).
The strength of the voice in those words falls in the first “a” of each word.
When a feminine word starts with a stressed vowel “a”, use el instead of la.
• el agua (the water)
• el águila (the eagle)
• el aula (the classroom)
• el ave (the bird)
Though all of the nouns above are feminine, the article that accompanies them is masculine.
Oh! And this rule applies to the Spanish indefinite article un, too. Let’s learn more about these articles!
• un águila (an eagle)
• un ave (a bird)
In Spanish, there are four indefinite articles. They are un, una, unos, unas.
Un and una are equivalent to the English words “a” and “an”. Unos and unas are equivalent to the word “some”.
Use un with masculine nouns that are singular.
• un carro (a car)
• un mapa (a map)
• un avión (an airplane)
Use una with feminine nouns that are singular.
• una silla (a chair)
• una flor (a flower)
• una mesa (a table)
Use unos with masculine nouns that are plural.
• unos carros (some cars)
• unos mapas (some maps)
• unos aviones (some airplanes)
Use unas with feminine nouns that are plural.
• unas sillas (some chairs)
• unas flores (some flowers)
• unas mesas (some tables)
If in a conversation, you don’t want to mention the noun you are talking about, un becomes uno. Let me give you an example.
• ¿Quieres un burrito? (Do you want a burrito?)
• Sí, quiero uno. (Yes, I want one.)
Do you have any questions about Spanish definite or indefinite articles? Feel free to drop me a line.
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