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You may not have learned this in grammar school, but in English the word “the” is a definite article. That is because it points to a very specific thing.
For example, you may tell someone, “I want the mug,” assuming that they will bring you the mug you have in mind. However, if you tell them, “I want a mug,” you will get whatever mug they choose to hand you!
That is because the words “a” or “an” are indefinite articles.
Spanish has definite and indefinite articles as well. However, as mentioned before, Spanish speakers must suit the form of the article to the gender of the noun it precedes. Remember el hombre and la mujer?
What you didn’t know then was that the article must also reflect the quantity of the noun—whether or not it is singular or plural.
For example, if there is one man, we speak of el hombre. If there are two or more men, we speak of los hombres.
If there is one woman, we speak of la mujer. If there are two or more women, we speak of las mujeres.
You can see how the Spanish forms of “the” are used in the following table:
|Masculine||el chico - the boy||los chicos - the boys|
|Feminine||la chica - the girl||las chicas - the girls|
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El chico / Los chicos
The boy / The boys
La chica / Las chicas
The girl / The girls
Las manzanas están podridas.
The apples are rotten.
El libro está en mi maleta.
The book is in my bag.
Compré los libros en la librería.
I bought the books in the bookstore.
Las chicas salieron a correr.
The girls went running.
In Spanish, there are four forms of the indefinite articles “a,” “an,” or “some.”
|Masculine||un lápiz - a pencil||unos lápices -some pencils|
|Feminine||una flor - a flower||unas flores - some flowers|
Hay una flor en el florero.
There is a flower in the vase.
Necesito unos lápices para la escuela.
I need some pencils for school.
Check out Spanish grammarfor more useful info! Here are some recommended lessons:
Mauricio Evlampieff: Rocket Spanish
Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!