¿Un hacha o una hacha? Why is ‘axe’ masculine?

In this post we have stopped recommending plans and giving valuable information about axes. Today at Urban Safari we get serious and we come to give you a grammar lesson, because being ax-perts and not knowing if you say “un hacha” or “una hacha” is fatal.

The grammatical rules of the Spanish language say that the articles “la” and “una” correspond to feminine nouns (as in the case of the word “hacha”). However, we are faced with a clear exception. When nouns begin with “a”, both letters would overlap, sounding wrong. Saying “Soy una hacha( i am an axe)”  is fatal phonologically speaking.

Therefore, in the nouns that begin with “a”, we will use the articles that correspond to the masculine (“el” and “un”).

But, you should also know that when there is an adverb or an adjective between the article and the noun, things change there. Yes we can say “Una buena hacha (a good axe)” or “la gran hacha (the great axe)”. Why? Simple. Because those words don’t start with “a”, so phonologically, it sounds good. The same happens when we are going to speak in the plural; it is correct to say “las hachas (the axes)” and “unas hachas (some axes)”.

In short, we say “EL hacha” and “UN hacha” when we speak in the singular, and we use the feminine articles when we speak in the plural or when we insert another complementary word between the article and the noun.