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Spanish Articles


The following rules define an article:  



a)      The article is the word that specifies if the noun is definite (el, la, los, las & lo) or indefinite (un, una, unos & unas)



b)      The article precedes to specify the gender and number  of the noun.



c)      The article agrees with the gender and number of the noun.



d)      The article can precede any word, but by doing so, the word automatically is transformed into a noun:


          For example:

        correr (is a verb, to run)               

        el correr (is a noun)



e)       There are definite and indefinite articles.



Definite articles

for things supposedly known

Indefinite articles

for things supposedly unknown




masc. sing.



fem. sing.



masc. plural



fem. plural

lo (usually singular)






f)       If the prepositions "a" or "de" appear before the  article "el," the following and unique contractions occur:


  •   a + el= al

  •   de + el = del  

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The contraction won´t be used if:



..."The" has to be written with it´s article:

El Salvador ( the name of the country)

“El Santo”( the name of a wrestler”)           

Voy a El Salvador.


...de  “El Santo”

... there is an article before the company´s name, work or masterpiece and any publication (magazines or newspapers)

“El Dictamen” ( the name of a magazine)

Anuncio de “El Dictamen”

... it is required for a good sound

Usually occurs with  nouns that have a strong "a" or "ha" with written or unwritten accent: (see nouns)

el agua     

el harpa

el águila   

el hambre

el África


Voy a el agua.

Hize arreglos a el harpa.

Estoy viendo a el águila.

El nido es de el águila.

...if  the adjective has a strong "a" or "ha" with written or unwritten accent and is in front of the noun the article will remain "la" and no contraction will be done.

la alta definición.....

la hábil mano indígena

The high definition.

The skillful Indian hand.




g)        The article has to be written in front of each noun even if several nouns were listed:



                    La casa, la tierra y el árbol....

                     The house, the soil and the tree...

                   Una casa, un pedazo de tierra y el árbol....

                     A house, a piece of land, and a tree...

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h)       The article has to be written before the noun when making a general statement:



                  Tengo un perro. / I have a dog.

                  Tengo al perro. ( remember a + el = al ) / I have the dog.



i)       The article  "lo"  is used with:


  • Masculine adjectives used as a noun : 


                 lo bueno, lo excelente. 

                   The good , the excellent.


  • With the past participle : 


                 lo dicho, lo hecho, lo escrito... 

                   What has been said, what has been done, what has been written...


  • With adjectives or adverbs meaning “how”: 

                  lo + adj. + que  


                  lo + adv. + que 



                  lo fácil que es. 

                    how easy it is.

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  • Using the following expression 

                  lo + de + a noun, adverb or infinitive verb:



                            lo de María es importante

                             that of Maria is important



  • In idiomatic expressions:

 a lo largo de / along

 a lo lejos / in the distance

 a lo más / at the most

 a lo mejor / probably

 por lo menos / at least

 por lo general / generally

 por lo pronto / for the time being

 por lo tanto / consequently

 por lo visto / apparently

 para  lo que / for what

 por lo que / for that reason



        Other Grammar topics

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