Catalan Grammar. Articles

Articles

In English there are two articles 'a' and 'the'. The definite article is 'the' and the indefinite article is 'a'.

The same articles are used for all nouns, none of which have gender. There is no distinction between singular and plural. In English, we say 'the cow' and 'the cows' or 'the building' and the 'buildings'.'

In Catalan, the article changes depending on the gender and number of the noun.

Nouns can be masculine or feminine. E.g. la dona 'the woman' (feminine) and el cotxe 'the car' (masculine). Feminine nouns often (but not always) end in a.


Definite article (singular). The

The Catalan definite article is el, la or l'.

L' is used in front of a vowel or 'h'.

El is used when referring to masculine nouns.

La is used when referring to feminine nouns.

the manl'home
the islandl'illa
the fatherel pare
the womanla dona
the dogel gos


Definite article (plural). The

Els is used when referring to masculine nouns and les is used when referring to feminine nouns.

the menels homes
the womenles dones


Indefinite article (singular). A

Un is used when referring to masculine nouns.

Una is used when referring to feminine nouns.

a manun home
the islandun illa
a fatherun pare
a womanuna dona
She is a beautiful womanEs una dona bella
a dogun gos


Indefinite article (plural). A

Uns is used when referring to masculine nouns.

Unes is used when referring to feminine nouns.


Variations

Catalan has dialects and variation between regions. One such variation seen in the balearic islands is that of the definite article.

Es and sa are used with masculine and feminine nouns respectively (in the singular).

Es and ses are used with masculine and feminine nouns respectively (in the plural).


Personal names and definite articles

In Catalan, the definite article is used before personal names. El is used for men and la for women.

Do you know Joanna?Coneixes la Joanna?
This is Mr SmithAquest és el senyor Smith
This is Mrs SmithAquesta és la senyora Smith

Apart from when using the verb dir-se (to be called).

I'm called John.Em dic John
He is called John.Es diu John

Or calling someone by name - either to attract their attention, or attract their attention to something.