Spanish Definite and Indefinite Articles

In Spanish, an article is a grammatical determinant that indicates a reference to a concrete or known element or to an unknown and more general one. In this Spanish lesson you will learn about the two types of articles and how to use them properly. 

Understanding Articles

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.

How to Say “The” in Spanish

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:

Por ejemplo:




el chico

the boy


los chicos

the boys


la chica

the girl


las chicas

the girls

How to Say “A” or “An” in Spanish

In Spanish, there are four forms of the indefinite articles “a,” “an,” or “some.”




un lápiz

a pencil


unos lápices

some pencils


una flor

a flower


unas flores

some flowers

For more on Spanish grammar check out these lessons!


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