There are a number of Spanish words that can be tricky for beginners because they seem to break gender agreement rules. And while you’ll likely hear people joke about “just adding an -o” to the end of cognates, the reality is that each word that “breaks” the rules, such as ending in –dad or -e instead, does so for very specific and usually predictable reasons. Want to learn more about the rules of Spanish agreement? We’ll add a long blog post with more details ASAP. Ready to get to practicing? Read on and be sure to download either the manipulable or worksheet version of the Spanish gender agreement printable below for lots of practice.
- Practice “tricky” singular Spanish nouns
- (Optional) Use play to verbalize, hear, and internalize singular Spanish nouns that “break” the majority linguistic pattern
Why So Tricky?
One of beginner’s most commonly mismatched words is agua. Native and long-time Spanish speakers internalize early that, while feminine and requiring feminine adjectives, agua takes the typically masculine article of el. The reason? To avoid strong double A sounds.
Say these out loud, and the reason for breaking the pattern makes more sense:
The below printable is designed to help you or your learners practice el agua and similar “tricky” nouns. Not all of the nouns on the list are irregular due to their sounds. But, the full list of words, not inclusive of all the “tricky” nouns in Spanish, is below.
Spanish Vocabulary Covered
- Nouns that take EL: agua, área, día, idioma, mapa, planeta, problema
- Nouns that take LA: ciudad, flor, foto, lengua, mano, noche, tierra
Two Versions of the Spanish Gender Agreement Printable
There are two printable versions to download below. One is geared for younger students or for learning environments with more time for cutting and gluing. The second version will work best for students who already know how to write, as it involves writing the nouns and articles instead of manipulating them.
Manipulable Version of Printable
If you pre-laminate or use clear contact paper or clear shelf-liner to cover this version of the free Spanish gender agreement printable before use, you can reuse the pages over and over. The activity has a self-check portion so that you can use it for bell work, independent learning stations, morning baskets, and more.
If you would like to incorporate movement and listening and/or speaking practice, have students listen to or say the correct answer out-loud while dragging the flies over to the spider’s web. The tactile-speech or tactile-auditory connection increases learning retention and helps the “tricky” words sounds more natural.
Worksheet Version of the Printable
This second version is for writers, meaning students who can at least copy letters onto another section of a sheet and can spell out either el or la to match the “tricky” noun provided.