Latino, Latinx, Latine

The grammatical gender neutral in Spanish

Image: “Latinx” written in white over red.
  • Most gendered words in Spanish are finished with “-o” for male and “-a” for female. For example, “cute boy” would be “chico bonito”, “cute girl” would be “chica bonita”). The “-a” and “-o” are always pronounced as /a/ and /o/ respectively.
  • Words finished in “-or” are masculine, and you have to add the “-a” to make them feminine. This works for both nouns and adjectives, like “contador/contadora” or “encantador/encantadora”.
  • Words finished in “-ista” are gender neutral, despite the -a at the end. They are gendered by pronouns or articles (“el/la ciclista”, ”el/la periodista”).
  • Nouns finishing in “-ente” are supposed to be gender neutral, and adjectives with this termination always are (”presente”, “decente”). These words are gendered by the accompanying pronouns or articles. In certain dialects, some of the nouns finished in “-ente” are interpreted as male, and have to be turned into “-enta” to become female. For example, the male and female for “president” used to be “presidente”, but certain dialects now refer to a female president as “la presidenta”.
  • There are some words that don’t really adhere to these rules. For example, a spy is always an “espía”, and a witness is always a “testigo”, regardless of gender. These words are also gendered by the pronouns or articles accompanying them.
  • The singular for “I” is “yo” and it’s always gender neutral. Meanwhile, the plural “us” is gendered, either “nosotros” or “nosotras”.
  • You” has a handful of forms (“”, “vos”, “usted”) that are always gender-neutral. The plural form “ustedes” is also gender neutral, but the plural form “vosotros/vosotras” is gendered.
  • He” and “she” are “él” and “ella” respectively. The plural of the third person is gendered, and it can be either “ellos” (male they) or “ellas” (female they).
  • The article “the” is also gendered. Male nouns go with “el” (without the accent, unlike the pronoun “él”). Female nouns go with “la”. So, a male dog would be “el perro”, and a female doctor would be “la doctora”.
  • The article “the” also has a plural form in Spanish. So the male plural form would be “los” (“los perros”) and the female plural form would be “las” (“las doctoras”).
  • The Spanish for “a/an” is gendered too. Because “uno” is the number one, we have “un” as the male form of “a/an”, and “una” as the female form. This has a plural form too (which would be similar to the English “some”) and they’re “unos” and “unas” respectively.
  • bonita/bonito” become “bonitx
  • presidente” becomes “presidentx
  • contador/contadora” become “contadorx
  • un/una” would be “unx
  • unos/unas” would be “unxs
  • él/ella” could be “elx” or “ellx
  • el/la” could be “elx” or “lx
  • los/las” would be “lxs
  • In “-a”/”-o” words, swap these for “-e”. (“bonito”, “bonita”, “bonite”)
  • In “-or”/”-ora” words, use “-ore”. (”encantador”, “encantadora”, “encantadore”)
  • In “-e” words, just leave it. They’re meant to be neutral anyway.
  • un/una” would be “une
  • unos/unas” would be “unes
  • él/ella” could be “ele” or “elle
  • el/la” could be “ele” or “le
  • los/las” would be “les

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Andre Merodeadora

Translator, (aspiring) writer. Often described as “opinionated”, even more often as “annoying”.