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Lessons for topic Singular and Plural

"Tipo de Trabajo" or "Tipo de Trabajos"? That Is the Question!

To begin this lesson, let's take a look at a caption in a Yabla video that recently baffled one our subscribers:

 

Obviamente, la comunicación es la esencia de este tipo de trabajos.

Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of job.

Caption 40, Negocios La solicitud de empleo - Part 2

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Spanish sentences such as this one involving "tipo de" ["type" or "types of"] tend to confuse English speakers. After all, the literal translation of this sentence would read, "Obviously, communication is the essence of this type of jobs," which doesn’t work in English since “this” is singular and “jobs” is plural. In the vast majority of similar constructions in English involving countable nouns (nouns like "leaf/leaves," "cookie/cookies," etc. that can be physically counted), there must be singular/singular or plural/plural agreement, leaving one with the choice of either "this type of job" or "these types of jobs." 

 

However, this is not the case in Spanish since singular with plural is the most common construction, or occasionally singular with singular in the case of a single noun. Let’s look at some examples of each of these cases:

 

Singular with Plural with Countable Nouns: 

Si a todo esto añadimos otro tipo de problemas medio ambientales

If to all this we add another kind of environmental problem

Caption 16, 3R Campaña de reciclaje - Part 2

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yo sí tengo la esperanza que se reduzc'... se reduzcan este tipo de eventos, ¿no?

I do have the hope that these types of occurrences will be red'... will be reduced, right?

Caption 57, Amigos D.F. El secuestrar

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Singular with Singular (with a Single Countable Noun): 

¿Qué tipo de habitación desea?

What kind of room would you like?

Caption 10, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 7

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Note that in the case above, habitación is considered a single noun since the gentleman being addressed is only looking for one room; hence the singular with singular construction.

 

Uncountable Nouns: 

In both Spanish and English, uncountable nouns (nouns like "water," "coffee," "love," etc. that cannot be counted) go in singular with tipo de (or "type(s)" or "kind(s)") of as follows: 

 

y digamos que conforme se va fabricando ese tipo de líquido,

and let's say that just as that type of liquid is being produced,

Caption 92, Animales en familia La operación de Yaki - Part 2

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En ellos, recibió todo tipo de apoyo de sus simpatizantes.

In them, he got all kinds of support from his followers.

Caption 35, Andrés Manuel López Obrador Publicidad de Obrador

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To add further confusion for English speakers (sorry!), in most such cases with "partitive" (referring to part of a whole) constructions like "tipo de," the verb can be conjugated in either singular or plural! Let's take a look at a couple of examples:

 

En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gusta ver

In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see,

Caption 22, Álvaro Arquitecto Español en Londres

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Note that the verb gustar is conjugated in first person in accordance with the singular noun el tipo. However, without changing the translation, it would be perfectly acceptable to instead conjugate gustar in accordance with the plural trabajos:

 

En cuanto al tipo de... trabajos que me gustan ver

In terms of the types of... projects that I like to see,

 

Let's look at one more example: 

 

Además, en la conjugación de los verbos, este tipo de sufijos nos indican

Also, in the conjugation of verbs, these types of suffixes tell us 

Captions 35-36, Carlos explica Diminutivos y Aumentativos Cap 1: Los sufijos

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While indicar is conjugated in accordace with the plural noun sufijos, it could alternatively be conjugated in accordance with the singular noun tipo

 

Además, en la conjugación de los verbos, este tipo de sufijos nos indica           

Also, in the conjugation of verbs, these types of suffixes tell us 

 

Finally, it is worth noting that, in the cases of particular Spanish linking verbs like ser (to be), estar (to be), or parecer (to seem), the verb is nearly always conjugated in plural when followed by a subject complement (most simply defined as an "attribute"), as follows: 

 

Este tipo de bicicletas están pensadas para desplazamientos cortos,

This type of bicycle is planned for short distances,

Captions 5-6, Raquel Alquilar una bicicleta

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To conclude, although we have focused on tipo de for the purpose of this lesson, other "partitive constructions" like el resto de (the rest of), la mayor parte de (most of), la mayoría de (most of), etc. function the same way.

 

We hope you've enjoyed this lesson, and don't forget to leave us your comments and suggestions.

 

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Is Agua Masculine or Feminine?

Let's talk about gender. If you have been studying Spanish, you probably know that nouns in Spanish have gender. For example, the word libro (book) is a masculine noun. On the contrary, the noun pelota (ball) is feminine. If you want to use those nouns with their corresponding definite articles, you will say el libro (the book) and la pelota (the ball). Now, what about the noun agua (water)? Is agua masculine or feminine? Do you say el agua or la agua?

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Let's take a look at some clips:

 

Cuando uno tiene sed Pero el agua no está cerca

When one is thirsty But the water's not close by

Captions 17-18, Jarabe de Palo Agua

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Y como para completar la historia, desperdiciaban el agua todo el tiempo.

And, as if to make matters worse, they wasted water all the time.

Caption 15, Salvando el planeta Palabra Llegada - Part 7

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y apenas sus pies tocaron el agua, se convirtieron en dos grandes serpientes

and as soon as their feet touched the water, they turned into two big snakes

Captions 51-52, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

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Can you answer now our question? According to the above clips, is agua masculine or feminine? In all the previous clips, the word agua is placed right after the masculine definite article "el" so the noun agua must be masculine, right? Not too fast! Let's take a look at the following clips:

 

limonadas, refrescos o simplemente agua fresca.

lemonades, sodas or just cold water.

Caption 42, Aprendiendo con Karen Utensilios de cocina

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Las formas de presentación incluyen el agua ozonizada y el aceite ozonizado,

The formulations include ozonized water and ozonized oil,

Caption 35, Los médicos explican Beneficios del ozono

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Un día, los vientos del páramo agitaron las aguas de la laguna

One day, the winds from the tundra shook up the waters of the lake

Caption 26, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El mito de Bachué

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Did you see that? If you look at the first two clips, you can see that the adjectives that go after the noun agua are feminine adjectives that end with the vowel "a" (fresca and ionizada). Also, in the third clip, you can see that the term aguas (plural form of agua) is preceded by the feminine definite article "las". So, is agua masculine or feminine?

 

The answer is very simple: the noun agua is always feminine. However, if you are wondering why we say "el agua" and not "la agua" there is a simple rule you need to keep in mind: If a feminine noun starts with a stressed "a", you need to use the masculine definite article "el". Let's see more feminine nouns that start with a stressed "a":

 

el águila (the eagle)

el alma (the soul)

 

Nevertheless, it is important to say that for plural feminine nouns, you need to use the plural feminine definitive article "las":

 

las aguas (the waters)

las águilas (the eagles)

las almas (the souls)

 

Finally, keep in mind that if the noun is feminine the adjective needs to be feminine too. For example, let's say that we want to say "the water is dirty." Since water is feminine in Spanish, you need to use the feminine version of the adjective (sucia):

 

RIGHT - El agua está sucia

WRONG - El agua está sucio

 

 

So, there you have it. We hope you learned something useful today and don't forget to send us your comments and suggestions.

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¡Hasta la próxima!

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6 rules for forming the plural of nouns in Spanish

In this lesson, we talk about the plural in Spanish. In particular, we talk about the plural when it refers to nouns. Let's start this lesson with a little quiz. Do you know the plural form of the following nouns?:

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1. Casa (house)

2. Perro (dog)

3. Universidad (university)

4. Lápiz (pencil)

5. Jabalí (wild boar)

6. Análisis (analysis)

 

If you are not sure about how to make a singular noun plural in Spanish, we invite you to take a look at the following simple rules. While going through these rules, we will be unveiling the plural form of the 6 nouns we included in our quiz. Let's take a look.

 

Rule 1: Add an 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in unstressed vowels

 

- Casa (house) - Casas (houses)

- Estudiante (student) - Estudiantes (students)

- Perro (perro) - Perros (dogs)

 

Se escucha un perro.

You can hear a dog.

Caption 43, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Tus perros también son muy bonitos.

Your dogs are very beautiful too.

Caption 58, Conversaciones en el parque Cap. 2: Cafe y bocadillos

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Rule 2: Add an 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in stressed 'a,' 'e' and 'o'

 

- Papá (dad) - Papás (dads)

- Dominó (domino) - Dominós (dominoes)

- Café (coffee) - Cafés (coffees)

 

y les voy a mostrar el proceso de control de calidad de café de Colombia.

and I'm going to show you the quality-control process for coffee from Colombia.

Caption 5, Una Historia de Café La Bodega

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Cada uno de estos cafés tiene distintas cualidades tanto físicas como sensoriales

Each one of these coffees has different qualities both physically and sensorially.

Caption 14, Una Historia de Café La Bodega

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Rule 3: Add 'ES' or 'S' to form the plural of nouns ending in stressed 'i' and 'u'

 

- Bisturí (scalpel) - Bisturíes or bisturís (scalpels)

- Jabalí (wild boar) - Jabalíes or jabalís (wild boars)

- Tabú (taboo) - Tabúes or tabús (taboos)

 

Generally speaking, however, it is preferred to use the plural formed with 'ES'.

Also, this rule is very common when you are dealing with adjectives of nationality:

 

- Iraní (Iranian) - Iraníes or iranís (Iranians)

 

Rule 4: Add 'ES' to form the plural of nouns ending in consonant

 

- Árbol (tree) - Árboles (trees)

- Profesor (teacher) - Profesores (teachers)

- Universidad (university) - Universidades (universities)

- Rey (king) - Reyes (kings)

 

La rata esta es el rey de la estafa por allá en Europa.

This rat is the king con artist over there in Europe.

Caption 45, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 1 - Part 1

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Actualmente es la residencia oficial de los reyes de España,

Currently, it's the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain,

Caption 23, Madrid Un recorrido por la capital de España

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Notice that the singular noun árbol has a graphic accent in the second-to-last syllable (palabra grave). However, when you form the plural, the graphic accent moves to the third-to-last-syllable becoming a proparoxytone word (palabra esdrújula). Similarly, singular nouns like profesor and universidad that are stressed in the last syllable (palabras agudas) become paroxytone words (palabras graves) in the plural form. 

 

Rule 5: When a noun ends in 'Z,' the plural form switches the 'Z' for a 'C'

 

- Lápiz (pencil) - Lápices (pencils) 

- Raíz (root) - Raíces (roots)

- Voz (voice) - Voces (voices)

 

Tengo muy buena voz,

I have a very good voice,

Caption 91, Los casos de Yabla Problemas de convivencia - Part 2

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vuelven esas voces a mi cabeza.

those voices come back to my head.

Caption 37, El Aula Azul La Doctora Consejos - Subjuntivo y condicional

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Rule 6: Nouns ending in 'S' or 'X' that are the same in singular and plural in Spanish.

Paroxytone or proparoxytone nouns ending in 's' or 'x' keep the same form in plural. Let's see some examples:

 

- Cactus (cactus) - Cactus (cactuses/cacti)

- Tórax (thorax) - Tórax (thoraxes/thoraces)

Análisis (analysis) - Análisis (analyses/tests)

 

y en un análisis de nuestras debilidades, oportunidades, fortalezas y amenazas.

and an analysis of our weaknesses, opportunities, strengths and threats.

Caption 37, Raquel y Marisa Español Para Negocios - Crear una empresa

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para hacerle los análisis de sangre, de heces,

to do the blood tests, stool (tests),

Caption 54, Santuario para burros Santuario - Part 1

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That's it for now. We hope these rules help you to use the plural in Spanish. If you feel like practicing a little bit more, take 20 nouns and try to form their plural forms. And of course, don’t forget to send us your feedback and suggestions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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