A noun (sustantivo or nombre in Spanish) is a word that refers to a thing; specifically, people, places, things, objects, ideas, thoughts and emotions. I generally think of nouns as refering to "something"; even if that something could be intangible, it's still "something". If you can use a or the before it, it's probably a noun.
Some examples of nouns are:
- People: Mom, Elizabeth, girl, boy, man
- Things: house, car, moon, tree, paper, Earth
- Places: city, country, area, home
- Ideas: surrealism, thought
- Emotions: happiness, joy, anger, tenderness
Spanish nouns also have gender. Gender is a grammatical idea; it does not mean a word is male or female, even though grammarians refer to Spanish nouns as feminine or masculine. Sometimes it's more useful to know that there are two types of nouns, and it is important to learn not only the noun itself, but the article that goes with it: el for the masculine nouns or la for the feminine nouns. The gender of a noun also affects any corresponding pronouns and adjectives. These have to agree in gender with the noun.
Making Spanish Words Plural
Unlike English, Spanish has only a couple of rules, with very few exceptions.
- Add s to words ending in a vowel (when the ending vowel is unstressed or unaccented)
- Add es to words ending in a consonant or stressed vowel (vowel with an accent mark)