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Catalan grammar

Catalan grammar is the grammar of the Catalan language.

Table of contents
1 Morphology
2 External links
3 References


For general discussion of morphology (not specific to Catalan) see main article Morphology (linguistics).

Articles and nouns

In Catalan, nouns referring to inanimate objects or abstract concepts can have masculine or feminine grammatical gender: e.g. "el llibre" ("the book", masculine), "la taula" ("the table", feminine).

Articles take the following forms:

Definite article
singular el, l' la, l'
plural els les

Indefinite article
singular un una
pluraluns unes

Some words that might seem to a non-Catalan-speaker to be the masculine and feminine form of the same word may have entirely different meanings. For example:

There are words that do not change their form when they change from masculine to feminine, such as: Nouns for non-human animate beings can be divided into four classes: Nouns referring to humans can be divided into the following groups:


A Catalan adjective must agree in gender and number with the noun it qualifies. Adjectives can be divided into three groups:

Rules for the formation of Plurals

All plural nouns and adjectives end in s. In most cases, the plural can be formed by simply affixing an s to the singular.

For example:

Singular words ending in an unstresseda change that a to an e before adding the final -s. Some of these words have a more complicated way of pluralizing because of the necessary changed to the
orthography. The following examples show the orthographic issues that arise:

ç becomes c balança ("scale") balances
dolça ("sweet") dolces
c becomes qu cuca ("firefly")cuques
seca ("dry") seques
cu or qu becomes pascua ("Easter") pasqües
iniqua ("iniquitous") iniqües
j usually becomes g platja ("beach") platges
...but... roja ("red") rotjes
g becomes gu vaga ("wave") vagues
grog ("yellow") grogues
gu becomes llengua ("language") llengües
ambigua ("ambiguous") ambigües

Words that end in stressed vowels typically form the plural by adding -ns (this rule has exceptions):

Masculine words ending in s, ç, or x, with the accent on the last syllable typically add os to form the plural. Some (but not all) words ending in s double the final s when forming the plural (this rule has exceptions): Masculine words ending in sc, st, or xt with the accent on the last syllable can add either os or s to form the plural; both forms are considered correct: The words "post" ("board") and "host" ("host" in the sense of a large group of people or in the technical sense as a shortened version of "host machine", but not in the sense of a person who has visitors) are feminine and simply add "s" to form the plural.

Some masculine words ending in ig have two acceptable plural forms, either adding s or replacing the ig with jos:

Weak pronouns

The form of a
weak pronoun depends on
  1. its position with respect to the verb
  2. the person (first person / second person / third person)
  3. the grammatical gender, and
  4. its syntactic function.

The diagram below shows all of the different forms. The pronouns in column A are used when the verb begins with a consonant; those in column B when the verb begins with a vowel; those in column C when the verb ends in a consonant; and those in column D when the verb ends in a vowel.


Weak pronouns: Diagram

Person Syn. Function Before the verb After the verb
    A B C D
1, sing.   em m' me m
2, sing.   et t' te 't
3, sing. (a) reflexive / subject es s' se 's
3, sing. (b) direct object (f.) el l' lo 'l
3, sing. (c) direct object (m.) la l' la la
3, sing. (d) indirect object li li li li
1, pl.   ens ens nos 'ns
2, pl.   us us vos us
3, pl. (a) reflexive / subject es s' se 's
3, pl. (b) direct object (f.) els els los 'ls
3, pl. (c) direct object (m.) les les les les
3, pl. (d) indirect object els els los 'ls

(a) Reflexive form, and pronominal subject form.

Reflexive: "La nena es renta." ("The child is washing itself.")
Pronominal: "Tots en van penedir." ("Everyone is sorry about that").
(b) Direct object (masculine).
"Ahir el vaig veure." ("Yesterday I went to see him.").
(c) Direct object (feminine).
"Ahir la vaig veure." ("Yesterday I went to see her.").
(d) Indirect object.
"Li donaràs el llibre?" ("Will you give him the book?")
, "ho", and "hi"">

"En", "ho", and "hi"

Catalan also has three pronouns that do not correspond to the scheme diagrammed in the previous section: "en", "ho", and "hi". Roughly speaking, "en" corresponds to a combination of "de" ("of") and a noun. It is often translated into English by a construct like "of it", "of them", "some of them", "any of them", etc. "Hi" corresponds to the combination of a preposition other than "de" with a noun, as in "Sempre he tingut ganes d'anar-hi," ("I've always wanted to go there"). It also is used when verbs of perceotion are used intransitively, as in "No hi sent el home" ("The man can't hear"). "Ho" is a neuter pronoun that can stand in for a neuter word like "això" ("here") or for an entire phrase (e.g. "No ho se", "I don't know [the thing you just asked about]").

The pronoun"en" has four forms: "en", "n", "ne", and "n".

The pronouns "ho" and "hi" do not vary.

Order when combining weak pronouns

The general formula for combination is: se + 2nd person + 1st person + 3rd person (indirect + direct) + ho + ne + hi. Following the order of the formula, always heading to the right, any combination of two or more weak pronouns is gramatically possible, with the following two exceptions:

The apostrophe in any combination of two pronouns is always positioned as far to the right as possible: "se't", "se'ns", "se'm", "se'n", "te'm", "te'ls", "te'l", "te'n", etc.'''

The combination of "el" with "en", or "la" with "en", are bothe written "l'en".

See also: Combination of weak pronouns in Catalan


See main article Conjugation of regular Catalan verbs.

A verb expresses the process or action performed by the subject, or which expresses the existence or state of the subject, or describes the relationship between the predicate noun and the subject.

Considering the verb in itself, we can distinguish:

External links

A good English-language site about Catalan grammar


Most of this article is translated from the Catalan-language Wikipedia article on the same topic. The section "En", "ho", and "hi" is based loosely on the discussion of these words in Teach Yourself Catalan by Alan Yates (ISBN 0844237558).