Definition - Nouns are 'names' we use to
identify people, things, places, or ideas.
Examples of Spanish nouns are:
maleta [suitcase], sobre [envelope], España [Spain],
valor [courage], ...
Types - Nouns can be of several different
Proper nouns are names of specific people, things, locations, or ideas:
las Naciones Unidas [the United Nations], Cuba [Cuba], las
Cortes [Spanish Parliament], ...
Common nouns are names of general 'categories' of people, objects, places,
organización [organization], ciudad [town], belleza
Countable nouns are names of anything that can be counted:
una maleta [one
suitcase], tres sobres [three envelopes], muchas gracias [many
Uncountable nouns name what cannot be counted:
aire [air], agua [water], ...
Note: some nouns can be used as countable or uncountable depending on
what we want to say.
Examples of uncountable nouns:
alemana es buena. [German beer is good.]
Esto es café.
[This is coffee.]
Examples of uncountable nouns used with a 'countable meaning':
cuestan dos euros. [Four beers -- glasses/cans/bottles/... of beer
-- cost two Euros.]
Bebo un café.
[I drink a coffee -- cup of coffee.]
Collective nouns refer to a group made up of more than one person or
familia [family], fruta [fruit], rebaño [herd],
Gender - Some languages divide nouns according
to gender. In Spanish there are two genders: masculine and feminine.
This concept is not easy to understand for speakers of languages that
do not have genders, especially because the genders of nouns do not follow
a clear logic. Some nouns that name masculine people or things are masculine,
but others are feminine, and vice versa. Trying to 'reason' about the
gender of a noun is not very helpful. The best is to simply learn the
gender of the nouns by learning other words that indicate gender, for
instance the articles.
Examples of Spanish nouns divided by gender:
Masculine - el
libro [the book], el idioma
[the language], el sobre [the
stamp], el país [the country]
Feminine - la maleta
[the suitcase], la mano [the hand],
la calle [the street], la ciudad
Number - Most nouns have a singular and
a plural form. Singular refers to one (only one person, thing, or 'group'),
while plural refers to more than one.
Examples of singular and plural form:
Singular - una
chica [a girl], un euro
[one Euro], un país [a
Plural - dos chicas
[two girls], cien euros [hundred
Euros], muchos países [many