When speaking Spanish, you will most likely have to pluralize nouns in almost every sentence. Therefore, it’s good to master this skill as early as possible. Follow these 7 simple rules when pluralizing nouns in Spanish.
Making Spanish Nouns Plural
Rule #1: If a noun ends in a vowel, add “s”
There are more nouns in Spanish that end in a vowel than in a consonant, so this is an important rule to remember: when the noun ends in a vowel, just add an “s.” Easy-peasy!
la madre - las madres→ mother - mothers
el jugo - los jugos → juice - juices
la mesa - las mesas → tables - tables
Rule #2: If a noun ends in a consonant, add “es”
Although there are fewer nouns with consonants in Spanish, you have to remember that they follow a different rule than those that end in a vowel. For the nouns that end in a consonant you add “es.”
el mes - los meses → month - months
el doctor - los doctores → doctor - doctors
el papel - los papeles → paper - papers
Rule #3: If a noun ends in “z”, change the “z” to “c” and add “es”
Like many Spanish grammar rules, there are a few exceptions to Rule #2. The first exception is when the noun ends in “z.” When the noun ends in “z,” change it to “c” and add “es.”
la voz - las voces→ voice - voices
el lápiz - los lápices → pencil - pencils
la luz - las luces → light - lights
Rule #4: If the noun ends in “s” and the last syllable is unstressed, do not add “e” or “es.” Only change the definite article to plural.
This second exception to Rule #2 is important because it applies when talking about the days of the week. When the noun ends in an “s” and the last syllable is unstressed, you only change the definite article to the plural form “los.”
el lunes - los lunes → Monday - Mondays
el martes - los martes → Tuesday - Tuesdays
el miércoles - los miércoles → Wednesday - Wednesdays
el jueves - los jueves → Thursday - Thursdays
el viernes - los viernes → Friday - Fridays
el sábado - los sábados → Saturday - Saturdays
el domingo - los domingos → Sunday - Sundays
Rule #5: If the noun ends in “ión,” add “es” and drop the accent over the “o”
There are many words in Spanish that end in “ión” so it’s good to memorize this simple accenting rule. When any word ending in “ión” is made plural, drop the accent on the “o.”
la canción - las canciones → song - songs
la emoción - las emociones → emotion - emotions
la decisión - las decisiones → decision - decisiones
Rule #6: The definite article and any adjectives should always match the noun in both gender and number
Remember that all definite articles and adjectives should agree with the nouns they modify in both gender and number.
Las chicas altas tienen lápices rojos. → The tall girls have red pencils.
*In the first half of the sentence the article, las, and the adjective, altas, must agree with the noun, chicas, in gender (female) and in number (plural). In the second half of the sentence, the adjective, rojos, must agree in gender (male) and in number (plural) with the noun, lápices.
Rule #7: When the plural noun refers to a mixed group of genders, use the masculine plural form for definite articles and adjectives
When you are talking about a group of males and females, always use the masculine plural form of the noun, definite article and adjective.
La enferma y el doctor son muy tranquilos. → The nurse and the doctor are very calm.
*In this example, the adjective, tranquilos, is expressed in the masculine, plural form to describe both the female nurse and the male doctor.
Los maestros son aburridos. → The teachers are boring.
*In this example, los maestros can refer to just male teachers or a mix of both male and female teachers. The adjective, aburridos, agrees in both gender (male) and number (plural).
By following these 7 rules you will be a master at pluralizing nouns and that much closer to Spanish fluency!