English explanation of Spanish plurals and some unique expressions


In the way that nouns ending in -o are usually masculine, nouns ending in -r and -l are also usually masculine.
Examples of masculine nouns ending in -r and -l include el televisor [television set] and el hotel [hotel].
Words ending in -ista look feminine because they end in -a. But these words actually can be either masculine or
feminine, as seen, for example, in el futbolista [male soccer player] and la futbolista [female soccer player]. Spanish
words ending in -ma also look feminine because of the -a ending, but many of these words are actually masculine,
including el sistema [system] and el problema [problem].
Specific words that seem to be one gender but are the other include el día [day] and el mapa [map], which are
masculine, and la mano [hand], which is feminine.
Feminine nouns beginning with the sound -a in a stressed syllable use el rather than la as their definite article. El
agua [water], for example, is indeed a feminine noun, but it uses el rather than la as its definite article. [Note: If la
were used as the definite article for agua,

 then the two a sounds when pronounced would run together and sound like
laaaagua. Using el instead of la avoids this problem.] Feminine nouns beginning with the sound a in a syllable that is
not stressed keep the usual definite article of la (e.g., la actitud [attitude]).
E. Making Nouns Plural
The three rules for making a noun plural in Spanish are as follows.
1. If a noun ends in a vowel, add -s: la silla [chair] à las sillas.
2. If a noun ends in a consonant other than z, add -es: el papel [paper] à los papeles
3. If a noun ends in a z, change the z to c and add -es: el lápiz [pencil] à los lápices
F. The Alphabet in Spanish
The Spanish alphabet has 27 letters. They include the 26 used in English plus the letter ñ (as seen in España), which
comes right after the letter n in the alphabet.
G. Pronunciation of Several Consonant Sounds
Pronunciation is not about letters, and it’s not about spelling—it’s about sound. So, listen carefully when you hear
words in Spanish and do your best to reproduce the sounds you hear.
The letters f, l, m, and n are pronounced the same in Spanish as they are in English and are found in such words as la
profesora [female professor], la libertad [liberty, freedom], la música [music], and la nación [nation].
The letter s is always pronounced as s and never as z. The name José, for example, is pronounced with an s sound,
not a z sound.
The letter h is silent in Spanish, so el hotel [hotel], for example, should be pronounced as el otel. 

When h follows c, it
makes a ch sound, as found in la chica [girl].
The letter t in Spanish is never aspirated when pronounced, meaning that you produce no puff of air when you make
the sound of t. In fact, the t in Spanish sounds like a combination of t and d.
The sound that corresponds with single r in Spanish is similar to the sound made when d is pronounced in English.
The sound corresponding to j in Spanish, as used in the names Juan and José, has no exact equivalent in English.
Both the audio glossaries and the speaking activities offer numerous opportunities for you to listen to the pronunciation
of words in Spanish and practice your own pronunciation. The best way to improve your pronunciation is to listen
carefully when you hear Spanish and speak a lot of Spanish yourself.
Lesson 2—Definite Articles and Nouns
III. Actividades / Activities
a. Agrega el artículo definido apropiado a cada sustantivo. / Add the appropriate definite article to each noun.
1. ________ universidad 4. ________ lápices 7. ________ mapas
2. ________ libros 5. ________ sistema 8. ________ educación
3. ________ día 6. ________ cuadernos 9. ________ actitud
b. La familia González Fallas desempaca las cajas que tienen las cosas que necesitan en su nueva casa. / The
González Fallas family is unpacking the boxes that have the things they need in their new home.
Ayuda a la familia González Fallas a desempacar sus cosas. Agrega el artículo definido apropiado a cada sustantivo. /
Help the González Fallas family unpack their things. Add the appropriate definite article to each noun.
1. ________ televisor 6. ________ alfombra [rug]
2. ________ mesas 7. ________ cuadernos
3. ________ lámparas [lamps] 8. ________ mapas
4. ________ papeles 9. ________ libros
5. ________ computadora [computer] 10. _______ mesas
c. La familia González Fallas no recuerda cuántas cosas tienen en las cajas. / The González Fallas family doesn’t
remember how many things they have in the boxes.
Ayúdalos haciendo el plural de las siguientes cosas que han desempacado. / Help them by making the plural of the
following things they have unpacked.
1. el cuaderno ____________ 7. la cama [bed] _______________
2. la lámpara _____________ 8. el reloj ____________________
3. el televisor _____________ 9. la bicicleta [bicycle] __________
4. el zapato [shoe] _________ 10. el perfume [perfume] ________
5. el mapa _______________ 11. el papel ___________________
6. la alfombra ____________ 12. el lápiz ___________________
Learning Spanish: How to Understand and Speak a New Language
d. Escoge la respuesta correcta. / Choose the correct answer.
1. ¿Cuál [What] es el plural de reloj? a) relojes b) relojs c) relojeces
2. ¿Cuál es el singular de televisores? a) televiso b) televisor c) televisore
3. ¿Cuál es el plural de hotel? a) hotel b) hoteles c) hotels
4. ¿Cuál es el singular de doctoras? a) doctor b) doctoras c) doctora
5. ¿Cuál es el artículo definido de sistema? a) la b) las c) el
6. ¿Cuál es el artículo definido de mano? a) el b) la c) los
7. ¿Cuál es el artículo definido de problemas? a) los b) las c) el
8. ¿Cuál es el artículo definido de dentistas? a) los b) las c) la
9. ¿Cuál es el artículo definido de futbolistas? a) los b) las c) la
10. ¿Cuál es el artículo definido de papel? a) la b) el c) las
IV. Respuestas correctas / Correct Answers
a. 1. la universidad 4. los lápices 7. los mapas
2. los libros 5. el sistema 8. la educación
3. el día 6. los cuadernos 9. la actitud
b. 1. el 6. la
2. las 7. los
3. las 8. los
4. los 9. los
5. la 10. las
c. 1. los cuadernos 7. las camas
2. las lámparas 8. los relojes
3. los televisores 9. las bicicletas
4. los zapatos 10. los perfumes
5. los mapas 11. los papeles
6. las alfombras 12. los lápices
d. 1. a) relojes
2. b) televisor
3. b) hoteles
4. c) doctora
5 c) el
6. b) la
7. a) los
8. a) los and b) las
9. a) los and b) las
10. b) el

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