Introduction to ¿Cuántos libros hay?

In this section, we’ll learn about the gender and number of nouns. In Spanish, all nouns have a grammatical gender: masculine or feminine. Note that the grammatical gender of inanimate objects is a convention of language, not an inherent quality of the thing (a table, for instance, is feminine in Spanish, but masculine in Italian and German. It’s totally arbitrary). There are some rules of thumb to guess the gender of an unfamiliar word, but the best strategy is to memorize the gender along with the noun. Learning “computadora” isn’t enough; you need to know “la computadora.” If you’re someone who uses flashcards to memorize vocabulary, you might even consider using color-coded cards to remember noun gender.

Once we’ve established the rules (or rules of thumb) of noun gender, we can look at how singular nouns become plural in Spanish.


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