Spanish Grammar: Nouns – Definite Articles

Spanish Grammar: Definite Articles

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Spanish Grammar: Nouns – Definite Articles
la gramática española: los sustantivos – los artículos definidos

  • Identify and define specific noun(s) in a sentence.
  • Indicate the number and gender of a noun.

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a) The definite article (el artículo definido) in English is : THE thing …

The definite article is used with a specific noun, or a noun that has already been mentioned.

In Spanish, the definite article also helps us identify the number and gender of the noun.

There are FOUR different definite articles, split by number and gender.

Definite Articles : (los artículos definidos)

Masculine Singular: EL

El libro.
The book.

Masculine Plural: LOS

Los libros.
The books.

Feminine Singular: LA

La silla.
The chair.

Feminine Plural: LAS

Las sillas.
The chairs.

El libro es interesante.
The book is interesting.

La chica estudia mucho.
The girl studies a lot.

El hombre es inteligente.
The man is intelligent.

La estudiante habla español.
The (female) student speaks Spanish.

Los lápices están sobre la mesa.
The pencils are on the table.

Las mujeres toman café.
The women are drinking coffee.

b) In Spanish, the article is used before each noun, even though it is often omitted in English:

los hombres y las mujeres = (the) men and (the) women

c) The DEFINITE ARTICLE in Spanish is used with a specific noun, or a noun that has already been mentioned (for example: el profesor), just as in English (the professor). In general, the DEFINITE ARTICLE is used somewhat more in Spanish than it is in English. The following phrases illustrate how the DEFINITE ARTICLE is used in Spanish, whereas it would normally not be used in a comparable English phrase:

1) With nouns used in a general or abstract sense:

A ellos les gusta el queso.
They like cheese.

2) With parts of the body in place of a possessive adjective, when it is clear whose body part is being referred to:

Yo me lavo la cara.
I wash my face.

3) With days of the week, to indicate that something happens on a specific day or days:

Nosotros tenemos un examen el viernes.
We have an exam on Friday.

Ella va a misa los domingos.
She goes to Mass on Sundays.

4) With dates:

Hoy es lunes, el 8 de octubre.
Today is Monday, October 8th.

5) With seasons:

El verano es mi estación preferida.
Spring is my favorite season.

6) With certain common expressions:

a la escuela
to school

por la mañana
in the morning

por la tarde
in the afternoon

por la noche
at night

el fin de semana
the weekend

la semana entrante
next week

el mes pasado
last month

el año pasado
last year

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