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19 votes
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¿Es "la azúcar" o "el azúcar"?

The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas tells us: azúcar 1. ‘Sustancia cristalizada usada para endulzar’. Es válido su uso en ambos géneros, aunque, si va sin especificativo, es mayoritario su empleo ...
fedorqui's user avatar
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18 votes
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Starting a sentence instantly with a noun

Bare nouns starting a sentence in Spanish are not ungrammatical. They are however restricted to specific circumstances (leaving aside poetry and other registers where one has more freedom to move ...
pablodf76's user avatar
  • 39.5k
17 votes

Why is "agua" masculine in singular form and feminine in plural? "El agua" / "Las aguas" ¿Por qué decimos "el agua" si es una palabra femenina?

Actually it's not a gender reversal but a tradition that survives (inherited from Latin). The complete rules are intrincate and arbitrary, kind of "well that sounds good to me", full of exceptions ...
cdlvcdlv's user avatar
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13 votes
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¿Es "la amoladora" o "el amoladora"?

El agua lleva el porque, a pesar de que agua es palabra femenina (decimos que está fría), la primera sílaba es tónica y el primer fonema es /a/. Si colocamos un adjetivo entre el artículo y el ...
user0721090601's user avatar
13 votes

Why is "a" needed in "Jugaba al tenis todos los días"?

According to the DLE, the verb jugar is used with that meaning followed by the a preposition: intr. Entretenerse, divertirse tomando parte en uno de los juegos sometidos a reglas, medie o no en ...
Charlie's user avatar
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11 votes
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Why say "dame la mano" instead of "dame tu mano"?

"dar la mano" is an idiom. Although we can hear: Dame tu mano. it's more idiomatic, as well as more logical, to say: Dame la mano. (Who else's hand would you give me if not yours? -- that is, ...
Gustavson's user avatar
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11 votes

Using “ser” without "un/una"?

That's an interesting use of broma. You know that the verb ser does not need an article when the word following is an adjective: El coche es azul. Ha sido divertido. In the case of broma, the ...
Charlie's user avatar
  • 77.5k
10 votes

How to express that we know a language, and can speak it?

Hablar works both transitively (hablar español) and intransitively with a complement (hablar en español). The definite article is not needed in these cases. You would refer to el español in other ...
pablodf76's user avatar
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9 votes

"Día de Muertos" or "El Día de los Muertos"?

The actual name of the holiday is Día de Muertos. Nowhere in Mexico you will see it called or referred any other way. Outside of Mexico, people erroneously use "Día de los muertos", the English ...
Guanajuatense's user avatar
9 votes

¿Por qué se usa el artículo "el" en "el jefe de la banda es el carismático Butch Cassidy"?

Carismático es un adjetivo. El artículo el se aplica a toda la frase nominal, carismático Butch Cassidy. Esta forma de calificar a una persona (o a un lugar o una cosa) es muy particular porque 1) se ...
pablodf76's user avatar
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9 votes
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When to use a definite article before a country name?

From the Diccionario Panhispánico de Dudas under the section "el": Uso con topónimos. Ciertos topónimos incorporan el artículo como parte fija e indisociable del nombre propio, como ocurre ...
nopaltepec's user avatar
8 votes

Why is "agua" masculine in singular form and feminine in plural? "El agua" / "Las aguas" ¿Por qué decimos "el agua" si es una palabra femenina?

The rule If a feminine noun begins with a stressed /a/ sound, some* singular articles/determiners: la, una, alguna, ninguna take a masculine form if they occur directly before the noun: el, un, ...
jacobo's user avatar
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8 votes

¿Es "la azúcar" o "el azúcar"?

To complete fedorqui's answer, there are a few more nouns which can be used indistinctly in the masculine or feminine form. They are called "sustantivos ambiguos" (see item 1(c) here: géneros del ...
Gustavson's user avatar
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8 votes
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"Mi esposo piensa que es un santo" - why is "un" necessary in this sentence?

I agree with Mauricio but would like to add something that might account for the presence of the article in this particular case. Unlike most other nouns denoting occupation, religion, affiliation or ...
Gustavson's user avatar
  • 31.2k
8 votes

Starting a sentence instantly with a noun

While an article is generally needed before a noun —do stick to that as a guide to build proper sentences—, per your asking, the rule is not so strict in practice as to not show instances where that ...
ipp's user avatar
  • 5,150
7 votes
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¿Cómo se dice: "nos vemos en lunes" o "nos vemos el lunes"? ¿Por qué?

Lo correcto sería decir "nos vemos el lunes", si te estás refiriendo a que nos veremos el próximo lunes. Decir "nos vemos en lunes", aparte de sonar raro, da a entender que sólo nos vemos los lunes o ...
JoseLSegura's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

¿Por qué se dice El iPad/un iPad?

El usar un artículo u otro depende de cómo vayas a pronunciar iPad, que es un nombre en inglés (como extranjerismo o barbarismo). En este artículo podemos leer sobre la discusión de si es "el&...
Diego's user avatar
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7 votes
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¿Qué artículo se debe usar para un sustantivo femenino que empieza en "a" tónica cuando es implícito?

El artículo siempre acompaña al nombre, por lo tanto en plural es las aguas, y en singular como termina por a y empieza el nombre por A es el agua, aunque agua sigue siendo femenina. En tu ejemplo ...
Iria's user avatar
  • 1,215
6 votes
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How important is correct usage of el/la in spoken Spanish?

Most people will understand what you are trying to say under most circumstances. However, gender is Spanish is important if fluency is your goal. Here are some reasons: Frequently using the wrong ...
TreeHouse196's user avatar
  • 1,304
6 votes

¿Es "la azúcar" o "el azúcar"?

The big authority on Spanish, the RAE, lists the word as nombre masculino o femenino. But for me personally a bigger authority are the authors of books in Spanish over the decades and they hardly ...
snoram's user avatar
  • 171
6 votes

¿Es justificado el uso de los artículos definidos y decir por ejemplo "todos los espacios interiores... deben ser llenados con *la* agua"?

No. Ambas frases son incorrectas y se corrigen como sigue: ...la altura máxima de aspiración d̶e̶ ̶l̶a̶ del agua de refrigeración (antes de arrancar el motor diesel, todos los espacios interiores ...
DGaleano's user avatar
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6 votes
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Why is the article not present in the phrase *el cepillo de dientes*

Cepillo de dientes is a recognizable, often-used expression that points to a specific kind of object that is also used often, so it works as a fixed phrase. It's the kind of phrase that in a language ...
pablodf76's user avatar
  • 39.5k
6 votes

Possessive Pronouns- Are 'el'/'la' interchangeable with 'mi'?

The sentence: Hago la cama. is ambiguous, as it may mean "I make my bed" (in which case it is equivalent to: Hago mi cama) or may be used to mean that the person makes some other bed specified in ...
Gustavson's user avatar
  • 31.2k
6 votes

Why is "la KGB" feminine?

My feeling here is that organizations tend to take the feminine gender because most of them are indeed feminine, beginning with words like Unión Alianza Organización Asociación Comisión Agencia ...
pablodf76's user avatar
  • 39.5k
6 votes

Using “ser” without "un/una"?

There are indeed cases in Spanish in which the zero article is used with singular, countable nouns. The examples at issue can take an indefinite article: Es (una) broma. Es (una) muy linda ciudad. (...
Gustavson's user avatar
  • 31.2k
6 votes
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¿Por qué se usa el artículo "el" en "el jefe de la banda es el carismático Butch Cassidy"?

En este caso carismático se esta utilizando como adjetivo de "Butch Cassidy", así que el artículo es para indicar al sujeto entero "el carismático Butch Cassidy". Nótese que ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 3,294
6 votes

When to use 'lo'

"Yo quiero una cosa" means "I want one thing". "Yo lo que quiero es una cosa" (note the "es": the sentence in your question is not correct) can be reordered to "Lo que yo quiero es una cosa", meaning "...
OnlyThenDidIReckonMyCurse's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

When to drop definite articles?

The reason why "Marte" does not take an article is that it is a proper name, not a common noun. Proper names only take the article in certain cases, mostly when the common noun they ...
Gustavson's user avatar
  • 31.2k
5 votes

¿El o la app? ¿Un o una app?

Deberíamos tratar a esta palabra («app») como tratamos a las palabras «agua», «alma» y «hacha», que son sustantivos femeninos que por su /a/ tónica deben cambiar de género para el artículo definido e ...
Jordi Vellardeu's user avatar

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