¿Es correcta esta frase?

Coge la bolsa por el asa pequeño.


It is incorrect. The adjective pequeño must agree with the noun asa which is feminine.

The tricky part is that, since the word asa starts with an stressed "a" (/a/ tónica in Spanish), it won't use the feminine article "la," but rather the masculine "el" to avoid "la asa," which would sound awkward. You can see this happen with other feminine words that start with stressed "a":

El águila

El agua

El alma

El aula

even words that start with an "h" followed by stressed "a":

El hacha

Note that you would not be doing this if the "a" were not stressed

La arena (stress is on the letter "e")

La actitud (stress is on the letter "u")

La agencia (stress is on the letter "e")

You will still use this "feminized" form of the article "el" for declinations of words that start with stressed "a," even if the declined word loses the stress on the "a" (/a/ átona in Spanish).

El agüita (not la agüita)

You won't be using it either word composed feminine words in which the first word starts with an stressed "a" but the composed word has a non-stressed "a":

La aguamarina (not el aguamarina. Stress in in letter "i")

The word asa has a stressed "a", so the correct form would be

Coge la bolsa por el asa pequeña.

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  • 1
    You may wish to add that's when the word begins with a stressed a. Otherwise, it's still la – user0721090601 Nov 27 '14 at 3:00
  • @guifa, like in "la agencia". Thanks, I'll update that. – Diego Nov 27 '14 at 3:02
  • Note: The RAE recommends against using el/un with agüita, exactly because of the change in stress: "Con el diminutivo agüita deben usarse las formas la y una, pues el acento ya no recae en la /a/ inicial: «La “agüita de panela” [...] no sustituye a la leche» (Traversa Cine [Arg. 1984]); «Te vas a tomar una agüita de ortiga con cinamón» (Gamboa Páginas [Col. 1998])." lema.rae.es/dpd/srv/search?key=agua – brazofuerte Apr 18 '18 at 16:44

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