Xavier (gorkabear) wrote in linguaphiles,
Xavier
gorkabear
linguaphiles

Tip: Grammar gender associated to countries in Spanish


Spanish can be tricky to get some genders. Such is the case of countries. When is a country "masculine" or when is it "feminine"?

While practically all cities are feminine (because you can think "la ciudad de ..."), countries (and small villages) have variable gender.

I was listening to the radio this morning and they had checked the RAE for what's the correct way to assign a grammar gender to a country since this is not only difficult for foreign students, but it's also that some Spaniards have trouble with.

Good news, as there is a regular rule: if the word ends in non-stressed -a, use femine; otherwise use masculine.

Then you have to remember which countries use customary articles* (remarkably, certain media such as El País are phasing out those articles in their style book), but for this example I will use an adjective.

Examples:

Feminine:
Toda Francia
Toda Italia
Toda Inglaterra
Toda India
Toda Nigeria
Toda Suráfrica
Toda Argentina

Masculine:
Todo el Reino Unido
Todo Panamá
Todo Estados Unidos (if you said "Todos los Estados Unidos", you'd mean Each state in the USA)
Todo Canadá
Todo Chile
Todo Egipto


* Examples: La India, El Reino Unido, El Canadá, Los Estados Unidos, El Salvador

Is there a similar rule for other languages?
Tags: spanish
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