Definite and indefinite articles in Spanish

Definite Articles: el / la / los / las

In Spanish, articles and nouns must agree in gender (masculine / feminine) and number (singular / plural).

El, la, los, las are definite articles in Spanish and precede masculine and feminine nouns as appropriate.

El and la are the definite articles in the singular: El niño y la niña = The boy and the girl

Los and las are definite articles in the plural: Los hombres y las mujeres = the men and the women

As you probably know, all nouns in Spanish have a lexical gender: masculine or feminine

Definite articles in singular: el / la

The general rule is that singular masculine nouns are preceded by the article el (although there may be exceptions) and singular feminine nouns are preceded by the article la.

The gender of nouns: Nouns are the words of a language that represent things. Both material and abstract. Both living and inanimate beings.

Nouns that represent living beings:

Nouns that represent inert or inanimate beings:

Contracions al and del in Spanish

The contraction a + el = al 

The contraction al in Spanish is the union of the preposition a and the definite article el (masculine singular definite article).

The preposition a does not have a single English translation. Since the use of propositions depends on the context. But this preposition can usually be translated by the english preposition to or at.

The verb
ir (to go) in Spanish is almost always followed by the preposition a (to).For example:

Voy a la playa = I go to the to the beach. In this example after the preposition a is followed by the feminine article la.

But when the Spanish preposition a is followed by the masculine singular article el, it is necessary to make a contraction: a + el = al
Voy a el cine (mistake) = Voy al cine = I go to the cinema

The contraction de + el = del 

The contraction del in Spanish is the union of the preposition de and the definite article el (masculine singular definite article).

The preposition de does not have a single English translation. Since the use of propositions depends on the context. But this preposition can usually be translated by the English preposition of, from, about.

The verb salir (to leave, to go out...) in Spanish is almost always followed by the preposition de. For example:

Yo salgo de clase a las seis = I leave class at six. Although in this example I can also say: I leave class at six

Yo salgo de el trabajo a las ocho (mistake) = Yo salgo del trabajo a las ocho = I leave work at eight

Definite articles in plural: Los, las

When we speak of more than one unit of a noun we use the plural.
When nouns are plural, the definite article must also be plural.

  • El niño >> los niños
  • la casa >> las casas

If you want to know more about nouns in Spanish and how the plural is formed from a singular noun, visit the following link:

  • Spanish nouns: singular and plural

Indefinite Articles: Un / una / unos / unas

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Indefinite articles in singular: Un / una

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Indefinite articles in plural : Unos / unas

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