The two different types of articles in Spanish

Hello guys! This time we’ll study what is an «Article» (in linguistics) and which are the two different types of articles in the Spanish language: DEFINITE ARTICLES AND INDEFINITE ARTICLES. You’ll find some examples of them and in the end, you’ll understand better which one you should use and why.

What’s an article?

articles by allspanish

An article is a word used to accompany a noun. If we want to refer to a noun, in English we use the definite article «the». It’s also used when two speakers know the object that refers. In Spanish instead of the article «the», we have something called «the gender of the nouns» and depending on this what article you’re using with.

Definite articles

The feminine nouns like «Niña» are accompanied with the feminine article <<LA>><<LA niña>>(in a singular case) <<LAS niñas>>(plural) and there are masculine nouns like «Niño» that must be preceded to the noun: <<EL niño>> and <<LOS niños>> if we are talking in the plural.

Undefined articles in Spanish

There are other types of articles known as «artículos indeterminados or indefinidos» (indefinite article or undefied article). There works exactly like in English does.

«Un/unos» for masculine cases and «una/unas» correspond to feminine. These kinds of articles are used to designate something undefined or non-specific. This is similar to «a-an-some».

How can I know which one of the two types of articles should I use?

With the purpose to make it easy we’ll say…We use the definite article when:

  • We both speakers know the object we’re referring (think in the following scene–>We are in the classroom -in the Spanish class- if I say you: «give me the book», you’ll know which one book I’m talking about because this works according to the immediate context)
  • To narrow the meaning. (If I’m talking about what «the president said…» We both will know I’m talking about a specific president )
  • Abstract nouns (The love, the life and so on)

On the other hand, we’ll use the indefinite articles when:

  • Introducing the information for the first time («I’ve tried a new Mexican meal»)
  • Things that we don’t want specify («I bought some books yesterday»)
  • With the impersonal form of the verb «HABER» –>HAY

To summarize the main difference between these two types of articles is that we use the definite ones to indicate things that we already know, consequently, we use the indefinite to refer to unknown things.

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