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Definite articles in Spanish

by | Spanish

Definition of article

Article is a word that is linked to nouns and its grammatical function is to give specificity to those nouns rather than describing them.  

The definite articles in Spanish

 

Singular

Plural

Masculine

el

Example: el caballo

los

Example: los caballos

Feminine

La

Example: la manzana

Las

Example: las manzanas

Usage:

 

  1. When it is referring to something definite and specific.
  • Ana recibió la carta de su hijo menor (Ana received the letter from her youngest son)
  • El gato de juan es blanco (John’s cat is white)
  • Él no pudo ir a la reunión de anoche (He couldn’t attend last night’s meeting)

 

  1. When it is referring to something definite but not specific.
  • Estamos buscando a la persona ideal para este cargo (We are seeking the ideal person for this position)
  • El triunfaor recibirá 2 millones de dólares (The winner will receive 2 million dollars)

 

  1. With elliptical sense (with something known)
  • Hay dos libros sobre la mesa. El mío es el rojo (There are 2 books on the table. Mine is the red one)
  • Tu falda es hermosa. La de tu hermana también (Your skirt is beautiful. Your sister’s as well)

 

  1. With acronyms either masculine or feminine depending of the main noun gender
  • El SELA inició sesiones hoy. (SELA = Sistema Económico Latinoamericano y del Caribe. The word “Sistema” is masculine) (SELLA started its sessions today)
  • La ONU organizará un evento cultural (ONU = Organización de las Naciones Unidas. The word “Organización” is feminine) (UN will organize a culture event)

 

  1. To name specific letters of the alphabet
  • La segunda “á” en mamá debe llevar tilde (The second ‘a’ in the word mamá must have written accent)
  • Antes de la “p” en “campo”, debes escribir una m (Before ‘p’ in ‘campo’, you must write ‘m’)

 

  1. To refer to specific people by their last names
  • Los Torres viven cerca de aquí (The Torres live nearby)
  • Carlos es el Durán que vimos anoche (Carlos is the Durán we saw last night)

 

  1. With specific continent names
  • El África de hoy aún vive en la pobreza (The Africa of today still lives in poverty)
  • La Europa del siglo pasado sufrió muchas transformaciones (Last century’s Europe underwent many transformations)

 

  1. “a” + “el” are contracted as “al” (with a few exceptions)
  • Ella visitó al doctor la semana pasada (She visited the doctor last week)
  • Los niños entraron al salón (The kids entered the classroom)

 

 

  1. “de” + “el” are contracted as “del” (with a few exceptions)
  • Este requisito es parte del contrato (This requirement is part of the contract)
  • Ese auto es del hermano de Lynn (This car belongs to Lynn’s brother)

 

 

  1. With unique nouns
  • El sol casi siempre sale a las 6 am (The sun almost always rises at 6 am)
  • El planeta tierra podría desaparecer (The Earth planet could disappear)

 

  1. With restrictive modifiers
  • Le dieron a ella el recibimiento de siempre (They gave her the usual reception)
  • El restaurante sirvió la cena habitual (The restaurant served the habitual dinner)

 

  1. With deictic sense
  • Prohibido beber alcohol en el autobús (Drinking alcohol on the bus is not allowed)
  • No uses el celular cuando conduzcas (Do not use your mobile phone when driving)

 

  1. With anaphoric sense
  • ¡Trae la llave por favor! (Bring the key please!)
  • El gerente no vino hoy (The manager did not come today)

 

  1. With endophoric sense
  • Juan le dio a su hijo todo el dinero que había ahorrado en la última semana (John gave his son all the money he has saved for the last week)
  • Robert renunció al trabajo después de 5 años de dedicación (Robert resigned to his job after 5 years of dedication)

 

 

  1. With the days of the week and time (with a few exceptions)
  • El lunes es festivo (Next Monday is a holiday)
  • La conferencia empezó a las 5 de la tarde (The conference started at 5 pm)
  • El almacén tiene algunas promociones los martes (The store has some promotions on Tuesdays)

 

  1. With dates (with a few exceptions)
  • Ellos empezaron a estudiar el 2 de febrero de 2050 (They started to study on February 2, 2050)
  • Llegaron el día 24 de abril (They came in April 24)

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