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English:

Consider this sentence "Mi habitación es la número cinco." Why couldn't "número" be masculine as in "el número cinco"? Does it have something to do with the gender of "habitación"?

I'm asking this question because I'm sure I've heard "número" as a masculine noun before.

Español:

Considere esta frase "Mi habitación es la número cinco." ¿Por qué no podría "número" ser masculino, como en "el número cinco"? ¿Tiene algo que ver con el género de la "habitación"?

Estoy haciendo esta pregunta porque estoy seguro de que he oído "número" como un sustantivo masculino antes.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Indeed. What's happening is there's an omited word(s). For example, if I'm describing the room, I can use any of the following:

  • Mi habitación es la grande.
  • Mi habitación es la del fondo.
  • Mi habitación es la que tiene mi maleta.

Returning to your phrase:

  • Mi habitación es la habitación número cinco.

número X is itself a "short" hand for ordinal numbers (and also whenever labels include non-numbers, like 3B) in which you're really saying con el/del número X, where it is more obvious why número stays in the masculine as it's being used as an actual noun. Effectively, habitación número cinco es the same as quinta habitación. (Doesn't seem like much of a short hand until you get, say, aula número 2579, or dos milésima quingentésima septuagésima nona aula and you remember that ordinal numbers are a PITA after about 30. )

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Because you are getting the gender out of Habitación (which is femenine) not from número For instance using cuarto (room), which is masculine the same phrase would read mi cuarto es el número cinco

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That's an Elipsis nominal. La número 5 means La habitación número 5 and so that habitación has feminin gender, it's said La número 5.

There are other types of "Elipsis" like verbal i.e. Lo bueno si breve, dos veces bueno -> Lo bueno si es breve, es dos veces bueno.

, preposicional and oracional A Pepe le gusta el helado, a Luis no. -> A Pepe le gusta el helado, a Luis no le gusta el helado.

Kind Regards

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