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Los Professiónes - Professions (What do we do?)
All nouns in Spanish are either masculine or feminine. Nouns that refer to inanimate objects (those that are not living), usually only ever have one gender. Sometimes a noun can take both a masculine and feminine form when it refers to a person or other living thing that can be separated by gender.

The names we use to describe our professions are examples of nouns that usually take both a masculine and feminine form. This is even common practice in English where gender is much less important (waiter / waitress - for example).

accountant el contador la contadora
artist el artista la artista
barman el camarero la camarera
bouncer el gorila
builder el constructor la constructora
butler el mayordomo  
cashier el cajero la cajera
chef el cocinero la cocinera
cleaner el limpiador la limpiadora
cook el cocinero la cocinera
dancer el bailarín la bailarina
dentist el dentista la dentista
doctor el doctor la doctora
driver el conductor la conductora
entertainer el artista la artista
fireman el bombero la bombera
hairdresser el peluquero la peluquera
housewife el ama de casa
maid   la criada
mechanic el mecánico la mecánico
nurse el enfermero la enfermera
painter el pintor la pintora
pilot el piloto la piloto
plumber el fontanero la fontanera
poet el poeta la poeta
politician el político la política
postman / woman el cartero la cartera
presenter el presentador la presentadora
receptionist el recepcionista la recepcionista
salesman / woman el vendedor la vendedora
secretary el secretario la secretaria
guard el guardia la guardia
singer el cantante la cantante
soldier el soldado la soldado
lawyer el abogado la abogada
street entertainer el artista ambulante la artista ambulante
surgeon el cirujano la cirujana
technician  el técnico la técnica
vet el veterinario la veterinaria
waiter / waitress el camarero la camarera
writer el escritor la escritora
Professions and gender

It is not always easy to identify the gender of a particular noun by the way it is spelt! When learning Spanish nouns it is a good idea to learn the article that goes with the noun; 'el' for masculine and 'la' for feminine.

Much more information on articles is given in the lesson entitled 'Articles - definite / indefinite.' Some professions in Spanish have only one gender. 'el gorila'
(bouncer) and 'el ama de casa' (housewife) are examples.

You might be wondering why the Spanish word for housewife which is feminine takes a masculine articel 'el'!

Some feminine nouns that begin with 'a' or 'ha' take masculine articles. Without them the two words together would sound strange.

Some professions in Spanish take the same masculine and feminine forms but take different articles; 'el artista' - masculine and 'la artista' - feminine.

Asking and saying what we do

¿Qué haces? - what do you do?

¿A qué te dedicas? - What do you do? (At what do you dedicate yourself?)

¿Cuál es tu profesión? - What's your profession?

¿Dónde trabajas? - Where do you work?

Soy un carpintero, ¿y tú? - I'm a carpenter, and you?

Much more information about how we ask questions and how we talk about ourselves is given in the online lessons.
In Spanish many of the masculine nouns end in 'o' and many of the feminine nouns end in 'a'. Sometimes the noun takes the same form for both genders.