Anonymous asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 1 month ago

Need help with Spanish ?

I’m learning Spanish via app and I keep getting “the bread” I don’t understand the whole feminine and masculine, when it comes to objects. How can “the bread” be feminine or masculine. I google it and still don’t understand. Can someone break it down or dumb is down so I can understand the whole “el” and “la” format. 

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6 Answers

  • 3 weeks ago

    It's a strange concept to English speakers, but it exists in all the important European languages, including French, Italian, Portuguese, German and Russian. You'll only give yourself a headache if you try to understand WHY "bread" is masculine in French, Spanish and Russian but in German it's neuter.

    A noun's grammatical gender has NO relationship to reality. A house or a dog or a book or  a person or an egg may be masculine, feminine or neuter in different languages.

    Just accept that it's so, and that when you learn a new noun you have to learn its gender too  - in Spanish el or la, in French le or la, in German (which has THREE grammatical genders) der, die or das.

    It'll soon become second nature.

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Yes, the 'masculine and feminine noun' idea is a confusing idea to somebody who only knows English. Difficult to know how to reassure you on that idea, but one day soon you will have a lightbulb moment when it all drops into place.

    Really you just have to think of it as simply one more thing to learn.  And - Spaniards did not get that idea just to confuse us English speakers!

    It might bother your teacher, but, in the final analysis - it doesn't matter much if you are speaking to Spanish-speakers and you get it wrong - they will know what you mean.

    Best of luck in your studies. 

  • Zac Z
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    The grammatical gender (cf.: ) is largely arbitrary as one of the Anonymous has said.

    It's the same in French and other Romance languages, only that Spanish is "nice" in that you recognize most words by whether they end in -o or -a as finc has said.

    Actually, the Germanic languages, of which English is a member, also generally have grammatical genders. I'm German and we have three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter! And just as with Spanish or French there really isn't much of a logic - but rather than a 50% chance to get it right you'll get it wrong twice as many times as you get it right...

    Old English also had genders but that feature largely got lost in its evolution towards Modern English. There are very few exceptions like fiancé / fiancée and blond / blonde, both of which were imported from French, the convention to refer to country as feminine, or to refer to the sun as "he" and the moon as "she" in poetic language*. That last part is a true grammatical gender but it is now rarely used.

    Ultimately, these things are of little importance; if you learn Spanish you'll just have to learn whether a word is masculine or feminine. Don't overthink it.

    As finc said, practically all words ending in -o are masculine, those ending in -a are pretty much always feminine, and you'll have to memorize the rest. Once you use the language on a regular basis you'll get used to this and at some point, if you speak Spanish often, you'll just know most of the words.

    And if you get a word wrong, you won't be stoned to death because of it. It'll be a grammatical mistake but you'll still be understood.

    Just as if I were saying that I "telled a joke" or "holded a glass of water". The grammar would be wrong but you'd still know what I'd be trying to say.

    * this is something I had never learned in school and it took me by surprise when read H. Rider Haggard's "She" the sun was referred to with masculine pronouns

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    No, I don't need any help, but I appreciate your asking.

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago


    Noun gender has nothing to do with sex. It is just an arbitrary linguistic convention. In Spanish, adjectives, articles and pronouns agree in gender an number with the nouns they modify, so you need to know the gender of each noun to decide which form of the adjectives, articles and pronouns you will use.

    Sometimes gender follow certain rules, sometimes you'll need to learn the gender of a noun by heart.

    Nouns referring to things (objects, clothes, tools, weapons, food, fruits, flowers, trees, etc.) may have masculine or feminine gender. Remember that grammatical gender is an ARBITRARY concept. There are even synonyms which have different gender (el pastel, la torta).


    - la caja (the box)

    - el cajón (the drawer)

    - la falda (the skirt)

    - el sombrero (the hat)

    - la pala (the shovel)

    - el martillo (the hammer)

    - el pan (bread)

    - la tostada (toast)

    - el pastel (the cake)

    - la torta (the cake)

    - la manzana (the apple)

    - el ananá (the pineapple)

    - la rosa (the rose)

    - el crisantemo (the chrysanthemum)

    - la palmera (the palm tree)

    - el pino (the pine)

    Keep working. The more you practice, the faster you'll learn to associate nouns with their gender.

  • 1 month ago

     Hi dear friend.

    I'm a native spanish speaker.... Usually , masculine and femenine nouns are easy to recognize... if they end with "a" such as "manzana" then it's feminine... and if it ends with "o" such as "platano" then it's masculine..

    However some nouns don't follow such rule... for instance "mano" ends with "o" yet it's treated as a feminine noun..

    "pan" is one of those nouns that are exceptions to the rule previously mentioned. Many nouns are exceptions to such rule... usually you just have to memorize their gender.... however maybe you could try this advice... if you aren't sure about a noun's gender try saying  out loud  "la pan" and 'el pan"  say it a few times and most likely this would help you to figure out which one sounds right.. This is what I do when I find nouns that I have never heard ever before.

    Also, I was looking for words  that end with "an" (such as "pan") and it wasn't an easy task since I mostly found conjugated verbs that ended with "an" such as "escribian" or "comian"... but I was able to find a few nouns that ended with "an" and all of them were masculine.. such as "capitán" "afán" "alemán"  "volcán" ... so I would conclude that if a noun ends with "an" there's a high probability that it will be treated as masculine. 

    God bless you.

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