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Special cases of Spanish plural nouns

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As it was mentioned in the post, there are some exceptions to the general rules given above. Let’s see what they are.  

1.  Nouns that have two plural forms

The first exception is easy. Do you remember the nouns ending in stressed or -ú that we mentioned previously? Well, for these you can either add -s or -es:

Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 11.49.13 AM

2.  Nouns that don’t change in the plural form

Singular Spanish nouns with two or more syllables ending in vowel + -s (no accent mark) do not change in their plural form. In these cases, you only need to change the article:

Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 11.50.01 AM

3.  Nouns that denote objects which have two symmetrical parts 

Some nouns in Spanish refer to objects that are made out of two symmetrical parts. This type of noun can be used in either the singular or the plural form. Look at the following pictures and examples:

Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 11.51.02 AM

However, in other cases, only the plural form is used to denote an object that has two symmetrical parts:

Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 11.52.57 AM

4.  Compound nouns

In Spanish, compound nouns can be written in one or two words. For those made of one word only, always make the second half of the word plural. Look at an example here:

Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 11.53.26 AM

If you have a compound noun made out of two separate words, mark the plural only in the first word. Check out these examples:

Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 11.54.04 AM

Final Notes

Before you leave, let’s take a quick look at three extra cases with Spanish nouns and their plural forms.

Nouns starting with stressed a- or ha-

There’s a group of nouns in Spanish that begin with either a stressed a- or ha-. These are feminine but they take the masculine article in the singular form due to phonetic reasons (el agua [water], el hada [fairy]). In the plural form, these nouns take the feminine article.

Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 11.54.46 AM

Do you want to learn more words that follow this pattern? Check out this list of some Spanish nouns that follow this rule for the plural form.

Uncountable nouns

Uncountable nouns in Spanish are typically used in singular when you refer to them in general or talk about an indeterminate quantity. When used in plural, they refer to different types or units of the same matter. Look at the following example:

Screen Shot 2021-11-30 at 11.55.26 AM

In the example on the left, the noun leche refers to milk in general. In the example on the right, the word leches refers to different types of vegetable milk (soy, almond, etc.). Check out this article if you want to know more about uncountable nouns in Spanish.

Plural masculine as default

Finally, the last thing to consider so you can master plural nouns in Spanish: when referring to a plural noun that includes masculine and feminine members (for the case of living beings), Spanish takes the masculine plural by default:

  • padre + madre = padres [parents]

  • hijos + hijas = hijos [children]

  • rey + reina = reyes [kings]

  • maestros + maestras = maestros [teachers]

Remember that when using a plural noun in Spanish it needs to agree with the other words that go with it (for example, articles and adjectives). This will make your Spanish sound more natural. Happy learning!

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Natalia Molina Ceballos

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