Definite and Indefinite Articles in Spanish

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The Definite Article

The Definite article in English is "The". In Spanish there are four words to translate "the". These are "El", "La", "Los" and "Las". The Spanish definite article must agree with the gender and number of the noun that follows it. So if we want to say "The bed", we know that bed in Spanish is cama, and that it is a feminine noun so we must use La with it. Before I get too deep in this explaination, let me give you a chart of the definite articles in Spanish.

Definite ArticleEnglish TranslationGenderNumberExample
elthemasculinesingularel libro the book
lathefemininesingularla puerta the door
losthemasculineplurallos libros the books
lasthefeminineplurallas puertas the doors

In Spanish the definite article is often used in places where we don't use it in English. For example:

The Definite article is used...ExampleTranslation
With parts of the bodyMe duele la cabeza.I have a headache. / My head hurts.
With articles of clothingQuítate la chamarra.Take off your jacket.
With abstract nounsEl amor es para siempre.Love is forever. / My head hurts.
With nouns referring to a general ideaNo me gusta el pluralismo.I don't like pluralism.
With nouns used in a general senseNo me gustan los tacos de bistec.I don't like beef tacos.
With people's titlesLa señora de Uribe dará hoy un discurso.Mrs. Uribe will speak today.

The Indefinite Article

The indefinite article in Spanish is similar to the definite article and has four forms as well, and must also agree in gender and number with the noun that it modifies.

Indefinite ArticleEnglish TranslationGenderNumberExample
una/an/onemasculinesingularun libro a book, one book
unaa/an/onefemininesingularuna oficina an office, one office
unossome/about/a fewmasculinepluralunos libros some books, a few books
unos tres meses about three months
unassome/about/a fewfemininepluralHace unos años. A few years ago. / Some years ago.

The Neuter Article

There is also a neuter article "Lo" that is used as follows:

Feminine nouns beginning with a tonic A

Feminine nouns that begin with a tonic or stessed A sound use the masculine definite or indefinite article in the singular but in the plural use the feminine article. Additionally, any other adjectives should use the feminine form. Some examples:

NounExampleEnglish Translation
águilael águila negrathe black eagle
águilalas águilas volaronthe eagles flew
aguael aguathe water
aguael agua clarathe clear water
agualas aguas negrasthe greywater
almaMe parte el almaIt just breaks my heart(soul).
almalas almasthe souls
hambreel hambrehunger
hambreTengo mucha hambre.I'm really hungry.