Thursday, December 20, 2012

Video Blog #1: Definite and Indefinite Articles

This “Probadita de Español” (a little taste in Spanish) is about definitte and indefinite articles.

Definite Articles:

The definite article “the” translates as “el, la, los, las”, depending on whether the noun, the article is qualifying, is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.

el: the (masculine singular)          
la: the feminine singular
los: the (masculine plural)            

las: the feminine plural

For example:

la manzana 
the apple                               
el plátano                                  
the banana
las mandarinas

the tangerines                            
los chocolates                            
the chocolates

How do you decide which artcle to use? First you need to identify the gender of the noun. Nouns in Spanish are either masculine or feminine. Here’s an easy rule of thumb to determine the gender of nouns. If a singular noun ends in “a”, it is most likely a feminine word. If a singular noun ends in any other letter, most likely the noun is masculine. Of course there are plenty of exceptions to this rule and a few useful rules to remember. For example, words that end -nión, -ción, y -sión, are feminine: una reunión (a meeting or gathering), una opinión (an opinión), una canción (a song). In class we will go over more of these exceptions.

Indefinite Articles:

In Spanish, the indefinite article has 4 forms, depending on whether the noun is masculine, feminine, singular or plural. The indefinite articles in Spanish are equivalent to the English words "a," "an," or "some."

un: a or an (masculine singular)                         
una: a or an (feminine singular)

unos: some (masculine plural)                           
unas: some (feminine plural)
For example:

una manzana
an apple                               
un plátano                                        
a banana
unas mandarinas 

some tangerines                         
unos chocolates                          
some chocolates

Video Transcript:
D: Buenos días, Nathalie. ¿Cómo estás? 
D: Good morning, Nathalie. How are you?
N: Buenos días, Deidre.  Muy bien ¿Y tú? 
N: Good morning, Deidre. How are you?
D: Muy bien, gracias.  Nathalie, ¿Qué es esto? 
D: Very well, thank you. Nathalie, what’s this?
N: Es una manzana verde. 
N: It’s a green apple.
D: ¡Muy bien!  ¿Y esto? 
D: Very well! And this?
N: Son unas uvas moradas. 
N: They’re purple grapes.
D: ¡Muy bien!  ¿Y esto? 
D: Very well! And this?
N: Son unos plátanos. 
N: They’re bananas.
D: ¡Muy bien!  ¿Y esto? 
D: Very well! And this?
N: Es una manzana roja. 
N: It’s a red apple.
D: ¡Muy bien!  ¿Y esto? 
D: Very well! And this?
N: Son mandarinas—unas mandarinas. 
N: They’re tangerines- some tangerines.
D: ¡Muy bien!  ¿Y qué es esto? 
D: Very well! And this?
N: Son unos chocolates.  A mí me gustan mucho los chocolates. 
N: They’re chocolates. I like chocolates very much.
D: A mí me encantan los chocolates también. 
D: I love chocolates too.

In the context of this short dialogue we just used indefinite articles un, una, unos, unas

Notice that in una manzana roja  (a red apple); the adjective, descriptive word,  “rojo”, aslo agrees in number a gender with the word “manzana”, “rojo” becomes “roja” because “manzana” is a feminine noun. If we want to say “some red apples”, we would have say “unas manzanas rojas”. In this dialogue, we use a useful expression, “¿Qué es esto?”, (What’s this?) When you don’t know whether a noun is feminine or masculine, plural or singular, and want to know what something is, ask, “¿Qué es esto?”.

Video Transcript:

D: Y ahora quisiera saber, ¿qué te quieres llevar a tu casa? 
D: And now, I would like to know, What do you want o take home.
N: La manzana verde, por favor. 
N: The green apple, please.
D: Muy bien. 
D: Very well.
N: Las uvas moradas. 
N: The purple grapes.
D: Sí. 
D: Yes.
N: Las mandarinas, y los chocolates por favor. 
N: The tangerines and the chocolates, please.
D: Y pues, yo quiero la manzana verde, las manzanas rojas, y los plátanos.  Pero también quiero un chocolate. 
D: Then, I want the green apple, the red apples, and the bananas. But I also want a chocolate.
N: Okay, voy a compartir contigo. 
N: Okay, I am going to share with you. the green apple, the red apples, and the bananas. But I also want a chocolate.
D: Muy bien.  Muchas gracias, Nathalie. Y, Hasta luego.  ¡Chau!* 
D: Very well! Muchas gracias!  See you latter, ciao.
*“Chau” comes from the Italian “Ciao” and is widely used in South America to say “bye”

In this section of our dialogue, we used the definite articles el, la, los y las to express what we wanted specifically. For example Nathalie wanted “la manzana verde”, “the green apple” not just any apple. Please review our Quizlet and don’t forget to take the test.

This is all for this “probadita de español”. Come check out one of our classes in Austin, Texas, free of obligation. To schedule a class, please contact us at

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