One of the most basic principles that new students should learn that of agreement between nouns and articles. Nouns are a person, place, or thing, so it's pretty easy to remember them. Articles, while perhaps an unfamiliar word, are easy too. I have a whole lesson on Spanish articles in my course, but I'll give you a quick summary. Articles are the small words that typically precede the noun, such as "the", "some", "a", or "an". Some examples:
A house = article is "A", nous is "house"
Some girls = article is "Some", noun is "girls"
Spanish is a simple language to learn and only a bit more complicated than English. But actually, I don't think of it as more complicated, rather, it's more organized. I often get asked if Spanish is easy to learn and perhaps the added level of organization does indeed make it simpler to understand. But I digress.
The purpose of this Spanish tip of the day is to reinforce the concept that articles must agree with the nouns they go with in terms of number and gender. I wrote a previous post about adjectives agreeing with their nouns and articles, which is a bit more complicated than today's tip. It's worth a read and will absolutely help you understand this concept better.
The principle is essentially that the noun you choose must agree in number and gender with the article that precedes it, such as:
Los perros tienen hambre = The dogs are hungry - notice "los" agrees with "perros" as they are both masculine (-os) and plural (end in "s").
La abogada es lista = The attorney is smart - notice the noun ("abogada") ends in "-a" so it is feminie. Therefore, the article ("La"), must also be the feminine form of "the", or "La". Notice also that the noun is singular (attorney, not attorneys), therefore the noun must be singular ("La", not "Las").
A few more examples:
El bombero tiene agua = The firefighter has water - since the noun is singular and masculine, the article ("El") must also be singular and masculine
Las maletas pesan much = The suitcases are heavy - "Maletas" is a plural and feminie article, therefore a plural and feminine article ("Las") is needed.
This is where we chat about all things Spanish. Feel free to ask a question, challenge me, passionately disagree, or rant about whatever. Just make it interesting.