Hello, hello! Normally we tend to think that when a word ends in -o is masculine and when it ends with -a is feminine. But is this a correct rule? Does this always happen? Let’s check!

It is said to Spanish students, especially when we’re in front of a beginner class, that all words which end with -a are feminine and all words which end with -o are masculine. Most of the times we can say that this rule applies, but not always, apart that there are more endings than -o or -a. Important reminder before continuing! We are going to talk about nouns.

There are more endings and I’m going to show them to you in the following table:

Endings for feminine nouns
Endings for masculine nouns
-a > oficina (office), princesa (princess), familia (family), pantalla (screen)
-dad > verdad (truth), universidad (university)
-tad > libertad (freedom), longevidad (longevity), toxicidad (toxicity)
-sión > extensión (extension), rotación (rotation)
-ción > manifestación (demonstration), sensación (sensation)
ez > sensatez (good sense, reasonableness), honradez (honesty), acidez (acidity), rigidez (strictness, rigidity), madurez (maturity)
-tis > faringitis (pharyngitis), pericarditis, flebitis (phlebitis)
-iz > emperatriz (empress), actriz (actress)
-o > libro (book), vaso (glass)
-e > padre (father), tomate, príncipe (prince), jefe (manager, boss)
-n > balcón (balcony), tren (train), ratón (mouse)
-r > azúcar (sugar), actor, calor (heat), tenedor (fork), ordenador (computer)
-l > símil (simile, similarity), desnivel (drop)
Elaborated by B. Riesco

As always, there are some exceptions and not all endings appear in this table. For example: problema, radio, mano and planeta (problem, radio, hand and planet) are masculine words. On the other hand, tos (cough) is feminine.  Also, some words can be masculine and feminine such as mar (sea. It can be el mar or la mar) or artista (this depends on the person who we’re talking about: el artista if it’s a man or la artista if that’s a woman).  Cantante is like artista: el cantante if the reference is a man and la cantante (in feminine) if the reference is a woman.

Also, don’t forget that if you doubt about the género (genre) of some words, you can always check your dictionary and it will help you with that issue.

I hope this post helps your Spanish learning and if you have doubts, let me know in the comments below or via email (holabriesco@outlook.com).


Letras en Español – B. Riesco ©



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