What are these?
Definite articles are written before a noun to give us information about it. In this case, using a definite article means that we know which «thing» we are talking about. In Spanish, we use definite articles in the same situation, but these work a little bit differently.
There is a very important concept in the Spanish language that might be confusing to non-native speakers, but it must be mentioned.
In Spanish, all nouns have gender.
Now, I’m not only talking about people-related nouns. It makes sense that «woman» is feminine, but what about the word «chair»? Well, yes, the word «chair» is feminine in Spanish. It’s «silla», by the way.
I don’t want you freaking out because of this matter. I know it can seem weird and complex, but I will make sure to posts lots and lots of information about it, so you can learn and practice as much as you want. What you need to keep in mind, for now, is that the definite article will change depending on the noun that goes after it. If the noun is feminine you will have to use a feminine article.
The same thing happens with singular and plural, but I think this is an easier concept to understand. In English, you’ll use the same article no matter what, but in Spanish, you’ll have to change it to its plural form if the noun requires it.
How to use them:
Let’s analyze a few sentences:
- The car is red.
We have a noun, car, and the definite article the. It’s implied, then, that we know which car we’re talking about.
If we translate this sentence into Spanish, we need to be aware of the number and gender of the noun.
- El coche es rojo.
If you check the chart above, you’ll find the masculine, singular article. Yes, the word car in Spanish is a masculine noun.
- The woman is singing.
Here it’s easy to guess that the article we will use in Spanish has to be singular (since we’re only talking about one woman) and feminine.
- La mujer está cantando.
Here you have some more sentences:
- The chair is broken ➞ La silla está rota.
- The floor is wet ➞ El suelo está mojado.
- The lamp is on the table ➞ La lámpara está en la mesa.
- The bicycles are downstairs ➞ Las bicicletas están abajo.
- The glasses are on the counter ➞ Los vasos están en el mostrador.
Definite articles in Spanish are easy to understand once you get the hang of them. Learning nouns and remembering their gender can be tricky, but it only requires a little bit of practice. It’s not difficult, it just takes some time. Trust me.
See you soon!