I need the proper Spanish (Mexican) construction for a sports team named, "The Lightning" (in a weather sense).

Would this work as a subject--"Los Rayos"?

Would this work as an object--"El Rayos"?

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    For this exact name, and mexican, we have "Los Rayos del Necaxa" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_Necaxa May 1, 2019 at 20:28
  • Either you're a little confused about the difference between "subject" and "object," or else I should reassure you that in Spanish, only pronouns change depending on whether you're looking at a subject or an object -- nouns don't. (I think in German nouns do change depending on "case" but Spanish doesn't have that feature.) // Your choices are basically "El Rayo" or "Los Rayos" (the first is singular, the second is plural). Jun 1, 2019 at 1:11

2 Answers 2


Actually neither of them would be the right one.

"El Rayo" would be what you are looking for (Example of existing "Lightning" team Rayo Vallecano or "Vallecan Lightning", from the town of Vallecas, commonly known as "El Rayo"), if you are going to add the city to the name, usually would be "El Rayo" + demonym (i.e. "El Rayo Neoyorkino" = "The New Yorker Lightning")

If you really want plural would be "Los Rayos"... but does not sound so good...

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    I, somewhat, disagree in that "Los Rayos" is not right. Even though strictly speaking the literal translation of "The Lightning" would be "El Rayo" in singular form, it would not be incorrect or weird to call a team "Los Rayos" in a plural form, of course the name in English would likely be "The Lightnings". As an example there is a Mexican soccer team called "Los Rayos del Necaxa". May 3, 2019 at 20:43
  • I don't say you cannot use it, I just said that it does not sound good enough. I would see "Los Rayos" as a nickname for the players/fans of the team (Like "Los leones de Bilbao"), but the team is a singular entity, so it should be used as singular in the name: "El Rayo". There is a difference with english team names (specifically in the United States) that like to use plurals... May 6, 2019 at 13:09

Lightning translates as both "rayo" (singular) and rayos (plural) in Spanish. For your specific case I would choose the singular form.

In English

Lightning and thunder are both uncountable nouns, but there are two of them, i.e. it is possible to count uncountable-noun words. For this reason we use the plural form "are": Lightning and thunder are both natural phenomena.


See also What is the plural of lightning?

The noun lightning can be countable or uncountable. In more general, commonly used, contexts, the plural form will also be lightning. However, in more specific contexts, the plural form can also be lightnings (archaic) e.g. in reference to various types of lightnings or a collection of lightnings.

Which may explain your confusion when translating. In Spanish, on the other hand, we refer to a single rayo as

  1. m. Cada una de las líneas, generalmente rectas, que parten del punto en que se produce una determinada forma de energía y señalan la dirección en que esta se propaga.

and we use the plural "rayos" to refer to a set of this events (multiple rayos)

Puedes saber lo lejos que está una tormenta contando los segundos entre el rayo y el sonido del trueno. You can know how far a storm is by counting the seconds between the lightning and the sound of thunder

La tormenta de anoche asustó mucho a mi perro. Demasiados rayos y truenos Last night's storm scared my dog. Too much lightning and thunder

Si Wallace estuviera aquí, acabaría con los ingleses echando fuego por los ojos... y rayos por el culo, yo soy William Wallace. [...] And if he were here, he'd consume the English with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse. [the Scots laugh] I am William Wallace!

Sale un sols rayo de su mano en el dibujo o varios rayos? Does he get one single lightning blot off his hand in the picture or several lightning blots?

All that explained, of course means that you have a choice when translating, so you should think about what the original name conveys (and get rid of that ambiguity). From what is already stated in the comments and in the other answer you have both

  • El Rayo Vallecano
  • Los Rayos del Necaxa (La directiva trató de atraer más aficionados cuando decidieron cambiar el uniforme clásico, de camiseta blanca con 5 líneas rojas, por un uniforme con un rayo dibujado y cambiando el mote a "rayos")

Personally, I would go with the single form if you only have "The Lightning" as a name. Mainly because a sport team is a single entity. Also, I don't know if there might be some sort of confusion otherwise. Calling the team "Los Rayos" in plural might lead to believe that you are referring actually to the players, instead of the team as a single entity.

Los jugadores del Rayo llevan camisetas a rallas con rayos dibujados

Los jugadores de Los Rayos llevan camisetas a rallas con rayos dibujados

(The Lightning has/have striped shirts with lightning on it. For someone who doesn't know, is "los Rayos" a single entity or many?)

El Rayo tiene el balón. El Rayo ha marcado gol

Los Rayos tienen el balón. Los Rayos han marcado gol (might lead to believe that you are talking about the players, and not the team)

You also need to be consistent. "El rayos", as you propose is plain bad grammar. The article must always in number with the noun.

  • I think you could strengthen your answer by skipping all the stuff about countable or uncountable -- I don't think OP is bothered about any of that. // I'm itching to edit out the article where you say, for example, "The Lightning has/have striped shirts." In English there just wouldn't be an article there. For example, there is a saying, "Lightning only strikes once." OP used the article, true, but it looks really strange to me. // Also I think you could simplify and eliminate the UK style verb "have" -- if OP wants something to work for Mexican Spanish, it's unlikely they are in the UK. Jun 1, 2019 at 1:11

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