Xavier (gorkabear) wrote in 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.


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

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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