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Why is it ok to use el with a feminine noun?

 

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  #1  
Old September 09, 2010, 02:07 PM
Feliz Feliz is offline
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Why is it ok to use el with a feminine noun?

Why is it o-kay to use el with the feminine noun aula? I can understand el programa because it is a masculine noun even though it ends in a (and also ma coincidentally). I have just realized that this is my favorite forum. I love Spanish Grammar!
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  #2  
Old September 09, 2010, 03:28 PM
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El is used with feminine nouns which begin with a stressed a. "El agua" is probably the most commonly used example. For an example where the stress has to be indicated with an accent, consider el águila.
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Old September 09, 2010, 04:19 PM
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This is akin to why we have two pronunciations for the word 'the' in English. If the following word begins with a vowel sound, we pronounce it as if it were written 'thee'. Likewise, the English word 'a' becomes 'an' if the following word begins with a vowel sound. In Spanish, the rule is 'if the immediately following feminine word begins with a stressed 'a' sound, the singular definite article 'el' and the singular indefinite article 'un' are used. The feminine plural articles are used, however.

el/un agua
las/unas aguas
el/un águila
las/unas águilas
el/un hacha
las/unas hachas

An extension of the rule states that compound words that begin with any of the words that fall under this category are also treated the same way, even though the 'a' sound is not stressed.

el/un avemaría
el/un aguamarina

There are words that are excluded from the rule - all proper names, names that denote a female person or animal, and letters of the alphabet.

la a
la hache
la Ana
La Haya
la árabe (a female Arab, as opposed to el árabe (a male Arab))
la ánade
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Old September 09, 2010, 06:35 PM
Feliz Feliz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjt33 View Post
El is used with feminine nouns which begin with a stressed a. "El agua" is probably the most commonly used example. For an example where the stress has to be indicated with an accent, consider el águila.
I get it perfectly. I was aware of the el requirement before nouns that begin with the accented a, but it never occurred to me that the nouns had to be only "stressed" to require the el as well. Very clear. Thank you. :>)

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Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
This is akin to why we have two pronunciations for the word 'the' in English. If the following word begins with a vowel sound, we pronounce it as if it were written 'thee'. Likewise, the English word 'a' becomes 'an' if the following word begins with a vowel sound. In Spanish, the rule is 'if the immediately following feminine word begins with a stressed 'a' sound, the singular definite article 'el' and the singular indefinite article 'un' are used. The feminine plural articles are used, however.

el/un agua
las/unas aguas
el/un águila
las/unas águilas
el/un hacha
las/unas hachas

An extension of the rule states that compound words that begin with any of the words that fall under this category are also treated the same way, even though the 'a' sound is not stressed.

el/un avemaría
el/un aguamarina

There are words that are excluded from the rule - all proper names, names that denote a female person or animal, and letters of the alphabet.

la a
la hache
la Ana
La Haya
la árabe (a female Arab, as opposed to el árabe (a male Arab))
la ánade
I am glad that I asked this question. I was going to just accept it--when I came across el aula, nf, in my current lesson plan. Just memorize it, that is.



I read a rule recently that all compound nouns require the masculine definite and indefinite articles. I was thinking of el abrelatas and el paraguas when I read the rule. But your examples of el/un avemaría and el/un aguamarina clear up any confusion about "a" words that I may have in the future.



Your list of exceptions-to-the-rule are interesting because I have memorized some of them already. But now, I know why they are the way they are! Very nice, you've made my day.

Last edited by Rusty; September 09, 2010 at 07:21 PM. Reason: merged back-to-back posts
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Old September 10, 2010, 03:58 AM
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Not all compound nouns are masculine nouns, they can be feminine. Usually, compound nouns with a verb in them are masculine ("el abrelatas", "el girasol", "el quitamanchas", etc.), but there are feminine ones, too: "la aguzanieves", "la cortapisa", etc.

There is a rule not respected (so, I'm not sure that it is a rule ) that the last noun gives the gender to the compound noun, so "el mediodía" would be affected by the masculine noun of "día" (el día). So, we have the following feminine nouns: "aguamarina", "avemaría", "telaraña", "aguanieve", "bocamanga", etc.

However, there are much more masculine compound nouns than feminine ones.
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Old September 10, 2010, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
However, there are much more masculine compound nouns than feminine ones.
Please rewrite correctly and copy 100 times.
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Old September 10, 2010, 06:27 AM
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el ave maría, el avemaría, la avemaría

la aguamarina

el ave / las aves
un ave / unas aves
algún ave
ningún ave
esta ave / estas aves
esa ave / esas aves
aquella ave / aquellas aves
toda ave
toda el ave
toda un ave
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[gone]
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Old September 10, 2010, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
Please rewrite correctly and copy 100 times.
Some help?
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Old September 10, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
Some help?
Many more. Much more is for uncountable quantities.
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Old September 10, 2010, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irmamar View Post
Not all compound nouns are masculine nouns, they can be feminine. Usually, compound nouns with a verb in them are masculine ("el abrelatas", "el girasol", "el quitamanchas", etc.), but there are feminine ones, too: "la aguzanieves", "la cortapisa", etc.

There is a rule not respected (so, I'm not sure that it is a rule ) that the last noun gives the gender to the compound noun, so "el mediodía" would be affected by the masculine noun of "día" (el día). So, we have the following feminine nouns: "aguamarina", "avemaría", "telaraña", "aguanieve", "bocamanga", etc.

However, there are much more masculine compound nouns than feminine ones.
I am learning to trust my instincts and Spanish Grammar at the same time! When I came across: "All compound nouns require a masculine definite or indefinite article." in a lesson plan recently, I doubted the "all" part--because of my age and experience, probably. I only dared to use that rule in this thread because I had not come across any compound nouns that required feminine articles yet. What you say seems true about there being more masculine compound nouns than feminine ones--now that I know they even exist. I will study more closely what you have written and I thank you for including examples of compound nouns that require feminine articles. Gracias por la corrección.


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