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Definite and indefinite articles in Spanish

The difference between definite articles (“determinados“) and indefinite articles (“indeterminados“) can be observed in the following two sentences:

Give me the blue pen (a particular or definite pen)

Give me a pen, please (any of a number of pens or an indefinite pen)

The difference between definite and indefinite articles is the difference between talking about a specific pen, or any pen.

-> the pen
-> a pen

DETERMINADO (= the)

Masculino Femenino
Singular El
(el bolígrafo)
La
(la señora)
Plural Los
(los bolígrafos)
Las
(las señoras)

INDETERMINADO (= a/ an)

Masculino Femenino
Singular Un
(un bolígrafo)
Una
(una señora)
Plural Unos
(los bolígrafos)
Unas
(las señoras)

Tips about articles in Spanish

Unos / unas is also used to express approximation:

Laura tiene unos 15 años
Laura is around 15 years old

The masculine plural definite and indefinite articles (los / unos) are also used to indicate a group of mixed sex. For instance, “los gatos” could refer to a group of 10 male cats or it could refer to a group of 9 female cats and one male cat.


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