Could someone please explain to me how definite articles are used before singular words in Spanish? It doesn't make much sense to me, I don't remember seeing that used in writing anywhere, and yet Google Translate says it's a thing. Why is it "los variante" and not simply "el variante"?

Google Translate screenshot

  • 2
    As a noun, "variante" is feminine. You have to say "la variante" and, in plural, "las variantes". "los variante" is completely ungrammatical.
    – Gustavson
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 12:47
  • As an aside, I always take Google translate with a very large grain of salt. I have seen it give wrong translations on even simple things. I still use it, but only to confirm the gist of what I think is a translation. I would never use it as a reference source.
    – Peter M
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


According to the dictionary, variante (when acting as a noun) may mean:

  • In masculine form, a pickled fruit or vegetable.
  • In feminine form, a difference between objects, a diversion, or some other technical things.

In any case, you always have to make the article and the noun agree in number:

  • El variante, los variantes.
  • La variante, las variantes.

As an aside note, Google Translator is by far my favourite translator. Depending on the pair of languages to translate between an artificial intelligence is used, fed with thousands (if not millions) of translations. This may give some impressive translations, but some mistakes may also happen sometimes, as the artificial intelligence creates translations based on what it knows are good translations and not following grammatical rules. It may be that not many inputs translate the word variant and among the few cases that do there is this mistake, hence making the IA create bad translations. This may also happen if your input is not large enough. If you enter "the variant" as input, Google translates it as "la variante", making the articule and noun agree in number.

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