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When learning Spanish, there are basic rules taught about word gender: words ending in o are usually masculine, words ending in a are usually feminine.

What about words ending in e? Are there any guidelines or rules of thumb for determining the gender of these words? Are the majority of words ending in e masculine or feminine?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Son masculinos terminados en -e:

  • Nouns ending in -aje (sustantivos terminados en –aje): el coraje
  • Colors (colores): el verde
  • Numbers (números): el catorce
  • Rivers (ríos): el Contramaestre
  • Seas and lakes (mares y lagos): el Caribe
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For the last 4 examples, I would say that the rule is simpler, all those nouns are masculine ( color, número, río, mar, lago ) and thus when naming a specific one of them, they will be also masculine. I'm not sure, but I think it's always like this, except for exceptions :D –  Petruza Feb 9 '12 at 0:44
Indeed. el verde can be thought of as a shortening of el color de verde. Same for el número de catorce, etc. –  Flimzy May 19 '13 at 5:59

I think most words ending in -e are femenine. For example:

  • La clase
  • La torre
  • La gente
  • La sangre

However, there are a lot more exceptions for words ending in -e than for words ending in -o. For example:

  • El hombre
  • El equipaje
  • El pie
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I read that in general:

  • the words ending in aje are masculine
  • the words ending in ie are feminine

There are words with both genders, and the meanings are different depending on the gender, e.g. arte, corte, frente.
There are words with both genders, and the meanings are the same for each gender, e.g. casete, interrogante.

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Can you provide some source for the first affirmation? –  Gonzalo Medina Nov 27 '11 at 23:44
Yes @Gonzalo Medina, Modern Spanish Grammar –  Theta30 Nov 28 '11 at 0:01
Then perhaps you could mention that source (perhaps including the concrete page(s)) in your answer. –  Gonzalo Medina Nov 28 '11 at 0:19
@Gonzalo Medina Thank you for your comments. –  Theta30 Nov 28 '11 at 1:50

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