Spanish nouns with irregular genders

Genders in Spanish are hard enough for Spanish students, but they get worse when some Spanish nouns  have irregular gender.

If you are a Spanish student of any level, you will know that words in Spanish have genders, for Spanish students this is a concept that takes a while to grasp, and what they get their head around it, they start seeing confusing words, by confusing here I mean some words that look like they should be feminine (because they finish in “-a”) but they are masculine, and other way around.

In today’s blog I am going to get you some tips, or advice that hopefully will be helpful for you to recognize some words with irregular gender in Spanish and in some cases to understand why these  irregular words behave the way they do.

Spanish nouns with irregular genders

1-EL aguA,

As you could see, that is a red flag, as it is a word  ended in “-a” but that goes with “el” which is masculine, how confusing! Well agua is actually feminine, see if we add something else like :

El agua fría

The only reason  why we use  “el” it is because agua  starts with a  strong “a” and Spanish speakers, just do not like that double “a”  sound, that is why we  use  “el”, but again, we only use “el” when agua is singular because if we say it in plural would be

Las aguas frias, why? Because when we sue “las” we do not have that a-a sound.

2-LA motO

And if we make it longer

La moto roja,

As you see moto is always feminine, even tho its last letter is an “-o” that normally is an indicative of a feminine  gender, yeah? And that is why moto, is not a complete word, it is just a short way to say motocicleta, that is the original word, and if you see the original word is feminine , therefore the short word is also feminine.

3-EL problemA

El problema malo,as you can see it is a masculine word ended in “-a”, how? Easy! In this case we need to look not only to the last letter but the two last letters, and we see  that ends in “-ma” all those words (ended in “-ma”) are  all masculine even tho they finish with “-a” and it is because they come from latin, and they are a bit particular.

The exception to this is the word “mamá”, and that is because mama it comes from the original word “madre” that is feminine, so as the original word is feminine, the shorter word is feminine  too.

And that is all I wanted to share with you about Spanish irregular genders today.

I hope you found it helpful and

Now you have the chance to read about this, as always I would love to hear from you,  I would appreciate if you could leave a comment letting  me know:

-if this was a helpful post


-one other word (different from the ones I mention in the video) with irregular gender.

Looking forward to reading your comments, and as always, if you have any questions let me know.

If you prefer to have this lesson in video format you can have a watch here.

Leave a Reply